PARIS ADULT THEATRE v. SLATON

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
71-1051
Petitioner 
Paris Adult Theatre
Respondent 
Slaton
Opinion 
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the respondents)
(Argued the cause for the petitioners)
Tags
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Facts of the Case 

State officials in Georgia sought to enjoin the showing of allegedly obscene films at the Paris Adult Theatre. The Theatre clearly warned potential viewers of the sexual nature of the films and required that patrons be at least 21 years of age. The Georgia Supreme Court held that the films were "hard core" pornography unprotected by the Constitution.

Question 

Did the Georgia injunction against the films violate the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of expression?

Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for Paris Adult Theatre, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 1: Speech, Press, and Assembly

In a 5-to-4 decision, the Court held that obscene films did not acquire constitutional protection simply because they were exhibited for consenting adults only. Conduct involving consenting adults, the Court argued, was not always beyond the scope of governmental regulation. The Court found that there were "legitimate state interests at stake in stemming the tide of commercialized obscenity," including the community's quality of life and public safety. The Court also noted that conclusive proof of a connection between antisocial behavior and obscene materials was not necessary to justify the Georgia law.

The Court remanded the case to the Georgia Supreme Court with instructions to reconsider its decision in light of the obscenity standard spelled out in Miller v. California. The Georgia Supreme Court found that the works in question were obscene and directed the trial judge to issue an order permanently enjoining the theatre from exhibiting the films.

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PARIS ADULT THEATRE v. SLATON. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 01 September 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1972/1972_71_1051>.
PARIS ADULT THEATRE v. SLATON, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1972/1972_71_1051 (last visited September 1, 2014).
"PARIS ADULT THEATRE v. SLATON," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed September 1, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1972/1972_71_1051.