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A temporary restraining order issued in the area of U.S. Const. amend. I rights must be couched in the narrowest terms that will accomplish the pin-pointed objective permitted by constitutional mandate and the essential needs of the public order. In this sensitive field, a state may not employ means that broadly stifle fundamental personal liberties when the end can be more narrowly achieved. In other words, the order must be tailored as precisely as possible to the exact needs of the case. The participation of both sides is necessary for this purpose. Certainly, the failure to invite participation of the party seeking to exercise First Amendment rights reduces the possibility of a narrowly drawn order, and substantially imperils the protection which the Amendment seeks to assure.
Petitioners, members of the "white supremacist" National States Rights Party, held a public rally in Princess Anne, Maryland, on August 6, 1966, at which aggressively and militantly racist speeches were made to a crowd of both whites and Negroes. It was announced that the rally would be resumed the next night, August 7. That day the respondents, local officials, obtained an ex parte restraining order from the Somerset County Circuit Court, there having been no notice to or informal communication with petitioners. The order restrained petitioners for 10 days from holding rallies which will tend to disturb and endanger the citizens of the County, and the August 7 rally was not held. After trial 10 days later, the Circuit Court issued another injunction, extending the effect of the earlier order for 10 months. The Maryland Court of Appeals affirmed the 10-day order, but reversed the 10-month order, holding that the period of time was unreasonable. Petitioners challenged the decision, arguing that the case was not moot and that the decision of the appellate court continued to have an adverse effect upon petitioners’ rights.
The Court reversed the lower court's decision. The Court found that petitioners' case was not moot and that the injunction constituted a prior restraint on speech. Therefore, the issuance of the injunction violated the principles of the First Amendment. Because petitioners were not afforded notice of the injunction proceedings, the injunction violated petitioners' rights under the First Amendment.