1947 February 23

ACLU Urges NY Governor to Veto Film Censorship Bill


The ACLU on this day urged New York Governor Thomas Dewey to veto the Wilson-Condon Bill, which would allow the state Motion Picture Division to deny licenses to motion pictures because of “objectionable advertising.”

Events in New York over the Italian film, The Miracle, resulted in the landmark Supreme Court decision in Burstyn v. Wilson on May 26, 1952, in which the Court held that movies are a form of expression protected by the First Amendment. The decision overturned the 1915 decision, Mutual v. Ohio (February 23, 1915), in which the Court had held that movies were articles of commerce not protected by the First Amendment.

Learn About The Miracle case: Laura Wittern-Keller and Raymond Haberski, The Miracle Case: Film Censorship and the Supreme Court (2009)

Learn more about state-level movie censorship: http://moviehistory.us/introduction-to-state-movie-censorship.html

View a timeline on movie censorship: https://www.aclu.org/files/multimedia/censorshiptimeline.html

Read: Samuel Walker, In Defense of American Liberties: A History of the ACLU (1990)

Learn about the ACLU today: www.aclu.org

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