BURSON v. FREEMAN

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
90-1056
Petitioner 
Burson
Respondent 
Freeman
Advocates
(Petitioner, argued the cause, pro se)
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

Freeman, a Tennessee political campaign treasurer, challenged the constitutionality of the Tennessee Code forbidding the solicitation of votes and the display or distribution of campaign materials within 100 feet of entrances to polling facilities. On appeal from a lower court's dismissal, the Tennessee Supreme Court reversed, finding that the 100-foot ban was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court granted Burson certiorari.

Question 

Did Tennessee's 100-foot limit violate the First Amendment's freedom of speech?

Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for Burson, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 1: Speech, Press, and Assembly

No. After subjecting Tennessee's statute to exacting scrutiny, since it constituted a facial content-based restriction on political speech in a public forum, the Court held that the statute was narrowly drafted to serve a compelling state interest. By creating a safe zone around polling sites, the statute served the state's interest in protecting its citizen's right to vote freely and effectively. Moreover, the 100-foot zone was acceptable since it was not so large as to completely block out the presence of political messages.

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BURSON v. FREEMAN. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 01 September 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1991/1991_90_1056>.
BURSON v. FREEMAN, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1991/1991_90_1056 (last visited September 1, 2014).
"BURSON v. FREEMAN," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed September 1, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1991/1991_90_1056.