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NAACP v. Button

371 U.S. 415 (1963)

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NAACP v. Button

United States Supreme Court

371 U.S. 415 (1963)

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Facts

The Virginia Conference of the NAACP (plaintiff) sought to finance litigation directed at ending racial discrimination in public schools. To accomplish this, members of the Conference held meetings inviting local Virginia parents and children to participate in lawsuits brought by NAACP attorneys. Virginia had historically prohibited certain types of solicitation of legal business. In 1956, Virginia passed Chapter 33 to extend this prohibition to the solicitation of legal business that occurs when an agent for any organization which “employs, retains or compensates” any lawyer “in connection with any judicial proceeding in which it has no pecuniary right or liability.” The NAACP brought a declaratory-judgment action against Virginia's attorney general (defendant), seeking a declaration that Chapter 33 was inapplicable to the Conference's activities, or, if Chapter 33 was applicable, that it was unconstitutional. Both the Richmond City Circuit Court and the Virginia Supreme Court held that Chapter 33 applied to the Conference's activities and that Chapter 33 was constitutional. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Brennan, J.)

Dissent (Harlan, J.)

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