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Except in exceptional cases, the grounds on which the circuit courts are held authorized to follow an earlier state decision rather than a later one, or to apply the rules of commercial law as understood by the United States Supreme Court, rather than those laid down by the local tribunals, are not grounds of constitutional right, but considerations of justice or expediency. There is no constitutional right to have all general propositions of law once adopted remain unchanged. It is unnecessary to lay down an absolute rule beyond the possibility of exception. Exceptions have been held to exist. The decision of a court upon a question of law, however wrong and however contrary to previous decisions, is not an infraction of the Fourteenth Amendment merely because it is wrong or because earlier decisions are reversed.
The publisher of certain articles and a cartoon, which were intended to embarrass the Supreme Court of Colorado and reflected upon the motives and conduct of the Supreme Court of Colorado in cases still pending, was found guilty of contempt and fined by the Supreme Court of Colorado. The publisher argued that his Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated and that his conviction should be reversed.
By finding the publisher guilty of contempt, did the state supreme court violate the publisher’s Fourteenth Amendment rights?
The United States Supreme Court found that the Supreme Court of Colorado did not violate the publisher's Fourteenth Amendment rights in deciding the limits of the common law of contempt. The Court also held that the publisher gained no constitutional right because the Supreme Court of Colorado's decision was contrary to its previous adjudications. The Court held that the United States Constitution was not infringed and that it was not an infraction of the Fourteenth Amendment merely because the Supreme Court of Colorado's decision was wrong or because its earlier decisions were reversed.