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Staub v. City of Baxley

United States Supreme Court
355 U.S. 313 (1958)


The City of Baxley, Georgia (the city) (plaintiff) had an ordinance prohibiting the solicitation of members for an organization without a permit and license. Violation of the ordinance was subject to punishment at the discretion of the city. Rose Staub (defendant), an employee of a ladies’ garment-workers union, was soliciting new members in the city without a permit. Staub was charged with violating the ordinance. Prior to trial, Staub challenged the constitutionality of the law, alleging it violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution by restricting free speech and the freedom of lawful assembly. The city court found Staub guilty and sentenced her to 30 days in jail and a $300 fine. The county superior court affirmed, as did the Court of Appeals of Georgia. The court of appeals declined to rule on the merits, because Staub failed to follow a state procedural rule requiring that specific sections of ordinances be challenged instead of the whole ordinance. The Georgia Supreme Court denied certiorari, and Staub appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Whittaker, J.)

Dissent (Frankfurter, J.)

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