The Fuller Court (1888–1910)

Criminal Justice

In what decision did the Fuller Court uphold a contempt citation for a newspaper for publishing unfavorable cartoons?

The Fuller Court ruled 7–2 in Patterson v. Colorado (1907) that Thomas Patterson, owner of both the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Times, could be punished for contempt for published articles and cartoons highly critical of the Colorado Supreme Court. The Court, in an opinion written by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, did not extend the First Amendment protections of freedom of the press to the states via the Fourteenth Amendment. Holmes also noted that the primary purpose of the Free Press Clause was to prevent prior restraints on speech, rather than subsequent punishments for expression.


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