Supreme Court Opinion Detailed Record

Participant Info

Bates v. City of Little Rock
361 US 516

The Court strikes down a Little Rock ordinance requiring that organizations divulge to the City Clerk upon request the names and addresses of the organization’s members and contributors. Justice Potter Stewart writes in Bates v. Little Rock that Little Rock attempt to get this information from the local NAACP chapter violates the Constitution because “freedom of association for the purpose of advancing ideas and airing grievances is protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment from invasion by the States” when it has no legitimate interest in acquiring the information. Black agrees with the holding but writes that in his view the freedom of association “is entitled to no less protection than any other First Amendment right.” In other words, for Black, there is no “legitimate interest” of the State that would justify Daisy Bates being forced to turn over her membership rolls to the City of little Rock.

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