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5 Y.B. Comm. on Freedom Speech Speech Ass'n Am. 1 (1965-1966)

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               IN THE COURTS, 1965-1966

       The year just passed has been an active one for legal cases affecting
freedoms of expression. The Supreme Court was particularly active. Important
new decisions concerning obscenity, legislative investigations, defamation,
and loyalty oaths figured prominently in the high Court's docket during the
1965 Term. The lower courts were also active this year. Many cases in the
federal district courts and courts of appeals raised important questions
ranging from demonstrations and the burning of draft cards on the one hand to
importation of allegedly obscene material on the other. In the state courts,
too, the year was an important one for First Amendment freedoms. Acting under
a Supreme Court mandate, several state courts struck down local regulations
restricting demonstrations and protests. State courts were also increasingly
burdened by questions involving liability for defaming public officials arising
under the New York Times decision. Overall, there has been such extensive
activity in the First Amendment field this past year that the discernment of
trends is difficult. Thus the function of this essay will simply be to
report, leaving the analysis and interpretation to the reader.

       This survey begins where the 1965 survey left off, at the beginning of
the Supreme Court's 1965 Term. In the manner of previous surveys, it attempts
to divide the cases into rough categories for ease of reference and harmony of
discussion. Obviously the categories blur many distinctions between cases and
force cases concerned with several aspects of free expression into one mold,
when they might with equal logic have been placed elsewhere. The survey has
not tried to report every case in the field during the last year, but only
those that seemed interesting or important either in terms of the legal
questions involved, or because of their significance for students of speech.

       A word about citations may be appropriate before beginning the survey.
Most of the decisions cited here have already been officially reported,
either in the United States reports (U.S', , for Supreme Court decisions), or
in the Federal Reports (F.2d for court of appeals, and F. Supp. for district
court decisions); or in the regional reports which include state court decisions
throughout the country (A.2d for Atlantic, N.E.2d for Northeast, etc.). A few
decisions, however, have not appeared in these official reports -- either
because they are too recent to permit official publication, or because they
come from a court which does not regularly submit its decisions to the
publishers. Only in New York, for example, are state trial court decisions
ever reported, and even there not all cases are printed. For these unreported
decisions, one must rely on the Bureau of National Affairs' comprehensive
weekly service, United States Law Week (U.S.L.Week). This publication is
available in most law libraries and a few general libraries. For anyone
interested in cases not reported even in the Law Week, the most complete
compilation is undoubtedly the Civil Liberties Docket, published monthly in
Berkeley, California, which is replete with information about cases throughout
the civil rights-civil liberties field.

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