Pittsburgh Press Co. v. Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations

413 U.S. 376, 93 S. Ct. 2553, 37 L. Ed. 2d 669 (1973)

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Pittsburgh Press Co. v. Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations

United States Supreme Court
413 U.S. 376, 93 S. Ct. 2553, 37 L. Ed. 2d 669 (1973)

Facts

Pittsburgh’s Human Relations Ordinance (the ordinance) prohibited employers from discriminating in hiring decisions on the basis of sex, unless a position was expressly exempt from the antidiscrimination provision. The ordinance also prohibited third parties from aiding in the performance of an unlawful employment practice, such as an employer’s prohibited discrimination. Pittsburgh Press Co. (Press) (plaintiff) published a newspaper with a section for help-wanted advertisements. Such ads were displayed in three columns: Jobs—Male Interest, Jobs—Female Interest, and Male-Female. Advertising employers chose the column for their ad, and Press consistently adhered to advertisers’ placement requests. The National Organization for Women, Inc., filed a complaint against Press with the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations (commission) (defendant), which was responsible for overseeing the ordinance’s enforcement. The complaint alleged that Press was unlawfully aiding employers by publishing advertisements expressing employers’ unlawful preferences for one sex over another. The commission agreed with the complaint and issued an order prohibiting Press from publishing help-wanted ads in sex-designated columns, except for roles exempt from the antidiscrimination provision. Press sued the commission, alleging that the order violated the First Amendment’s protection for freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The trial court and state appeals court affirmed the commission’s order. After the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied review, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Powell, J.)

Dissent (Stewart, J.)

Dissent (Douglas, J.)

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