54 Geo. L. J. 30 (1965-1966)
Freedom of the Mails: A Developing Right

handle is hein.journals/glj54 and id is 56 raw text is: FREEDOM OF THE MAILS: A DEVELOPING
RIGHT
JAY A. SIGLER*
Contending that a freedom of the mails is implicit in the first amendment's
freedom of speech guarantee, the author explores various activities of the Post
Office Department ,which tend to abridge this freedom. Professor Sigler notes
that the postal censorship power is growing more popular qwith Congress, but he
voices cautious optimism about an eventual recognition of a freedom of the
mails. The recent Supreme Court decision in Lamont v. Postmaster General is
largely responsible for this optimism.
The United States may give up the Post Office when it sees fit, but while it
carries it on the use of the mails is almost as much a part of free speech as the
right to use our tongues, and it would take very strong language to convince me
that Congress ever intended to give such a practically despotic power to any one
man.
INTRODUCTION
The power of censorship is among the most formidable activities
of government and has held the attention of libertarians, moralists
and self-styled patriots from Plato to the present. The stirring
phrases of Milton's Areopagitica still offer the most convincing asser-
tion of the doctrine of prior restraint, but even Milton did not deny
the government the power to punish statements after their utterance,
nor did he indicate that the government need abstain from interfer-
ence with all kinds of utterances.2        Plato emphasized the need of
protecting the masses from unpleasant truths and the immoral lies
of poets. The motives of the censors and the complaints of the cen-
sored have changed little over the ages, but the modes and techniques
of censorship have been vastly altered.
The states, under the federal system, have long exercised their
police power over morality by censoring books, movies, pictures, and
*Assistant Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University; B.A., Rutgers Uni-
versity; LL.B., Rutgers University School of Law; M.A., Rutgers University; Ph.D.,
Rutgers University.
I United States ex rel. Milwaukee Social Democratic Publishing Co. v. Burleson, 255
U.S. 407, 437 (1921) (Holmes, J., dissenting), quoted approvingly in Lamont v. Post-
master General, 381 U.S. 301, 305 (1965).
2 MIroN, PROSE WORKS 103-19 (Fletcher ed. 1834). The authors of mischievous works,
said Milton, could be dealt with, after publication, by fire and the executioner.

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