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Rowan v. United States Post Office Department

United States Supreme Court
397 U.S. 728 (1970)


The business activities of various publishers, mail-order distributors, mailing-list brokers, and mail-service organizations (plaintiffs) received numerous prohibitory orders from the United States Post Office (defendant) under Title III of the Postal Revenue and Federal Salary Act (the Act), 38 U.S.C. § 4009. The Act prohibited commercial advertisements from being mailed to an individual’s home address if: (1) the individual found the subject matter to be sexually arousing or provocative, and (2) the individual notified the Postmaster General that he or she did not want the material sent to his or her address. The plaintiffs claimed that the prohibitory orders negatively affected their business activities. The plaintiffs brought suit against the United States Post Office in district court, alleging that the Act was an unconstitutional restriction of their right to free speech. The district court held that the Act was constitutional, and the plaintiffs appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Burger, J.)

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