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Walker v. City of Birmingham
United States Supreme Court
388 U.S. 307 (1967)
In April 1963, the City of Birmingham (defendant) filed for an injunction to prevent 139 individuals and two organizations from protesting via parades, sit-ins, and kneel-ins on public and private property around the city. The City alleged that the planned protests would compromise the safety and welfare of the citizens of Birmingham. The court granted a preliminary injunction enjoining the named individuals from engaging in mass processions. Eight of the individuals included in the injunction, including Walker (plaintiff), participated in the marches despite the injunction. Walker and the other plaintiffs held a press conference before they marched, declaring that they would not honor the injunction because it violated their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. After the march, city officials requested that the court issue an order to show cause why the plaintiffs should not be held in contempt of court for violating the injunction. At the hearing, the plaintiffs argued that the injunction was unconstitutional because it was vague and overbroad. The judge refused to consider the plaintiffs’ arguments, however, because they had not attempted to file a motion to dissolve the injunction. The court found the plaintiffs in contempt and sentenced them to five days in jail and a $50 fine. The plaintiffs appealed and the Supreme Court of Alabama affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Stewart, J.)
Dissent (Warren, C.J.)
Dissent (Douglas, J.)
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