Essay Title: 

Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson

March 28, 2016 | Author: | Posted in american literature, literature and language

Joseph Burstyn , Inc . v . Wilson

Joseph Burstyn , Inc . vs . Wilson , 343 U .S . 495 (1952 , was a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court which largely marked the decline of motion picture censorship in the United States . A review of related American jurisprudence shows that the case was decided correctly and consistent with principles of First Amendment rights and Fourteenth Amendment guarantees that our courts have laid down and followed over the years

The main issue in this case involves the application of the First and Fourteenth Amendments , of a [banner_entry_middle]

New York statute that permits the banning of motion picture films on the ground that they are “sacrilegious ” The statute also mentions that it is unlawful “to exhibit , or to sell , lease or lend for exhibition at any place of amusement for pay or in connection with any business in the state of New York , any motion picture film or reel [with specified exceptions not relevant here] unless there is at the time in full force and effect a valid license or permit therefore of the education department

The case was d by Joseph Burstyn in response to the rescission of the license for the exhibition of the film . The New York State Board of Regents viewed the film entitled The Miracle ‘ and found it to be sacrilegious because of the plot of the film which depicts Saint Joseph ‘ as a man who villainously impregnates “Nanni , a disturbed peasant who believes herself to be the Virgin Mary

Burstyn d his case on three (3 ) grounds , namely (1 ) that the statute violates the Fourteenth Amendment as a prior restraint upon freedom of speech and of the press (2 ) that it is invalid under the same Amendment as a violation of the guaranty of separate church and state and as a prohibition of the free exercise of religion and (3 that the term “sacrilegious ” is so vague and indefinite as to offend due process

The Courts reversed the original decision , stating that under the First and Fourteenth Amendments a state may not ban a film on the basis of a censor ‘s conclusion that it is sacrilegious ‘ The court reached its decision by explaining the importance of motion pictures as a significant medium in the communication of ideas

That the movie was sacrilegious ‘ is not enough to warrant prior restraint . The word sacrilegious ‘ is too vague as to make a finding that the expression being considered is within the purview of expression that the State has a right to restrain . In Winters v . New York , 333 U .S 507 (1948 , a statute prohibiting publication or possession of any book , pamphlet , magazine , news or other printed . accounts of criminal deeds , or pictures , or stories of deeds of bloodshed , lust or crime ‘ was found to be unconstitutional because the expression sought to be restrained was protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments . The words in the statute were considered vague and indefinite that its scope of application would punish expression within the… [banner_entry_footer]

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