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Supreme Court of the United States
January 19, 1972, Argued ; June 26, 1972, Decided
[*92] [***215] [**2288] MR. JUSTICE MARSHALL delivered the opinion of the Court.
At issue in this case is the constitutionality of the following Chicago ordinance:
"A person [****2] commits disorderly conduct when he knowingly:
. . . .
"(i) Pickets or demonstrates on a public way within 150 feet of any primary or secondary school building [*93] while the school is in session and one-half hour before the school is in session and one-half hour after the school session has been concluded, provided that this subsection does not prohibit the peaceful picketing of any school involved in a labor dispute . . . ." Municipal Code, c. 193-1 (i).
The suit was brought by Earl Mosley, a federal postal employee, who for seven [**2289] months prior to the enactment of the ordinance had frequently picketed Jones Commercial High School in Chicago. During school hours and usually by himself, Mosley would walk the public sidewalk adjoining the school, carrying a sign that read: "Jones High School practices black discrimination. Jones High School has a black quota." His lonely crusade was always peaceful, orderly, and quiet, and was conceded to be so by the city of Chicago.
On March 26, 1968, Chapter 193-1 (i) was passed, to become effective on April 5. Seeing a newspaper announcement of the new ordinance, Mosley contacted the Chicago Police Department to find out how [****3] the ordinance would affect him; he was told that, if his picketing continued, he would be arrested. On April 4, the day before the ordinance became effective, Mosley ended his picketing next to the school. 1 Thereafter, he brought this action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, pursuant to 28 U. S. C. [*94] § 2201 and 42 U. S. C. § 1983. He alleged a violation of constitutional rights in that (1) the statute punished activity protected by the First Amendment; and (2) by exempting only peaceful labor picketing from its general prohibition against picketing, the statute denied him "equal protection of the law in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments . . . ."
[****4] After a hearing, the District Court granted a directed verdict dismissing the complaint. The Seventh Circuit reversed, holding that because the ordinance prohibited even peaceful picketing next to a school, it was overbroad and therefore "patently unconstitutional on its face." 432 F.2d 1256, 1259 (1970). We granted certiorari, 404 U.S. 821 (1971), [***216] to consider this case along with Grayned v. City of Rockford, post, p. 104, in which an almost identical ordinance was upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court, 46 Ill. 2d 492, 496, 263 N. E. 2d 866, 868 (1970).We affirm the judgment of the Seventh Circuit, although we decide this case on the ground not reached by that court. We hold that the ordinance is unconstitutional because it makes an impermissible distinction between labor picketing and other peaceful picketing.
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408 U.S. 92 *; 92 S. Ct. 2286 **; 33 L. Ed. 2d 212 ***; 1972 U.S. LEXIS 133 ****
POLICE DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO ET AL. v. MOSLEY
Prior History: [****1] CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT.
Disposition: 432 F.2d 1256, affirmed.
picketing, ordinance, disruption, nonlabor, views, governmental interest, peaceful picketing, subject matter, censorship
Constitutional Law, Fundamental Freedoms, Freedom of Speech, Scope, Equal Protection, Nature & Scope of Protection, Judicial & Legislative Restraints, Time, Place & Manner Restrictions, Expressive Conduct, Judicial Review, Standards of Review