Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bolger v. Youngs Drug Products Corp. case brief

Bolger v. Youngs Drug Products Corp. case brief summary
463 U.S. 60 (1983)

Appellant United States Postal Service challenged the judgment of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, which held that 39 U.S.C.S. § 3001(e)(2), which forbid appellee from sending unsolicited mailings to individuals' homes concerning contraceptives, was unconstitutional as an abridgment of Free Speech.

Appellee, manufacturer, seller and distributor of contraceptives, attempted to send unsolicited mailings to individuals concerning contraception and contraceptives. Appellant, United States Postal Services, prevented appellee from sending the mailings, arguing that under 39 U.S.C.S. § 3001(e)(2), sending information concerning contraceptives through the mails was illegal. Appellee sued appellant for a declaratory judgment, on the basis that such a prohibition of a mailing was unconstitutional.


  • The Court held that the mailing concerned commercial speech, which was generally afforded less constitutional protection than other forms of expression. 
  • The Court concluded that the law was unconstitutional under U.S. Constitutional Amendment I, as a violation of Free Speech, since it unreasonably suppressed information concerning health issues, and there was no justification for preventing appellee from sending such information to others.
The Court affirmed the judgment of the lower court and held that federal law, which prevented the unsolicited mailing of information concerning contraceptives, was unconstitutional under the First Amendment right to free speech.

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