Sunday, December 8, 2013

Secretary of State of Maryland v. Joseph H. Munson, Inc. case brief

Secretary of State of Maryland v. Joseph H. Munson, Inc. case brief summary
467 U.S. 947 (1984)

Defendant Secretary of State sought review of a decision of the lower court, which granted judgment for plaintiff corporation on grounds that Md. Code Ann. § 103D was unconstitutional and violated the First Amendment.

The corporation, a fundraising company, instituted a lawsuit against the Secretary and sought declaratory judgment and injunctive relief concerning Md. Code Ann. §103D, which imposed a percentage limitation on the corporation's charitable solicitation. The lower court held that Md. Code Ann. § 103D was an unconstitutional limitation on protected First Amendment solicitation activity. The Secretary appealed.

  • On review, the court affirmed and held that where a statute imposed a direct restriction on protected First Amendment activity, and where the defect in the statute was that the means chosen to accomplish the State's objectives were too imprecise, so that in all its applications the statute created an unnecessary risk of chilling free speech, the statute was properly subject to facial attack. 
  • The court held that significant fundraising activity protected by the First Amendment was barred by the percentage limitation because the percentage limitation was too imprecise and Md. Code Ann. § 103D was unconstitutionally overbroad.
The court affirmed the lower court's decision which granted judgment to the corporation.

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