1965 May 24

Supreme Court Strikes Down Postal Censorship Law


In Lamont v. Postmaster General, decided on this day, the Supreme Court struck down a federal law that allowed the Post Office to deliver foreign “communist political propaganda” only upon the request of the recipient. The Court unanimously held the law to be an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment.

Corliss Lamont, who had challenged the Post Office restrictions, was a longtime civil libertarian and served for many years on the ACLU Board of Directors. He founded the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee on October 8, 1951, and was denied a passport because of his political views on October 15, 1951.

The Court: “. . . an unconstitutional limitation of his rights under the First Amendment.”

Watch a 1952 interview with Lamont: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBnUXr9HWhM

Learn more about Lamont: Corliss Lamont, Yes to Life: A Memoir (1981)

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