The Kingfish and the Constitution: Huey Long, the First Amendment, and the Emergence of Modern Press Freedom in America

By Richard C. Cortner | Go to book overview

Chapter 6
The Grosjean Case before the Three-Judge Court

The guaranttees of a free press were imbedded in our constitutions, not only to prohibit but specifically to prohibit any restraint of the press, especially one by taxation, such as was then prevalent in England. It was recognized then, as it must be now, that control of the press may be effected by government as well through a threat of destructive taxation, as by a licensing system or by censorship.

--Newspaper counsel, November 23,1934

It is not essential to liberty of speech and freedom of the press, as constitutionally understood, that profit be derived from the exercise of these rights. Nor was it ever contemplated that the constitutional guarantee should extend to charging for and selling advertising.

--Counsel for the state of Louisiana, November 23,1934

◆ While the complaint attacking the advertising tax filed by the newspapers in the federal district court named Supervisor of Public Accounts Grosjean as the defendant, the responsibility for defending suits involving the state was that of the office of the Louisiana attorney general. In 1934, the occupant of that office was forty-nine-year-old Gaston Louis Porterie. Porterie was born in Mansura in Avoyelles Parish in 1885 and attended the Mansura public schools. He received a bachelor of science degree from Louisiana State University in 1904 and subsequently attended Cornell University. In 1905 he was appointed principal of Mansura high school and in 1909 became the superintendent of Avoyelles Parish schools, but he returned to Louisiana State University and earned a law degree in 1915. The following year Porterie was elected district

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The Kingfish and the Constitution: Huey Long, the First Amendment, and the Emergence of Modern Press Freedom in America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Political Science ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • Notes xiv
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction: Huey Long, the Press, and the First Amendment in 1930 1
  • Notes 16
  • Chapter 2 - The Kingfish and the "Lying Newspapers" of Louisiana 19
  • Notes 44
  • Chapter 3 - The Kingfish Goes National 47
  • Notes 64
  • Chapter 4 - Guiding the Newspapers in the "Path of Rectitude": Censorship by Taxation 67
  • Notes 92
  • Chapter 5 - The Press Counterattacks 95
  • Notes 116
  • Chapter 6 - The Grosjean Case before the Three-Judge Court 119
  • Notes 148
  • Chapter 7 - The Appeal to the Supreme Court 149
  • Notes 171
  • Chapter 8 - Epilogue 175
  • Notes 185
  • Bibliographical Essay 187
  • Index 191
  • About the Author 197
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