Cantwell v. Connecticut
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Time Period
5/20/1940
Description
This case dealt with a requirement that a license was necessary in order to distribute literature, including religious literature, in New Haven, Connecticut. The Court found that this requirement violated the U.S. Constitution's Free Exercise Clause, and that religious groups do not need permission from the government to engage in religious activities. Further, the Court set the conditions under which the government could limit religious practice, holding that an activity had to be a "clear and present danger" to public order or safety to be subject to limitation. Finally, the Court held that as a consequence of the Fourteenth Amendment, the First Amendment's religion clauses apply to the states as well as to federal law. As a result of this precedent, state-level courts can hear claims based on the federal Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses.
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Photographs

Jehovah's Witness distributing religious literature- Internet Archive- from Armageddon Around the Corner by William J. Whalen

Chief Justice Charles E Hughes- Library of Congress, LC-DIG-hec-16482
Book/Journal Source(s)
Flowers, Ronald, 2005. That Godless Court? Supreme Court Decisions on Church-State Relationships, 2nd ed.. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.
Web Source(s)
http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=10099999677896592458&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr
Cantwell et al. v. Connecticut
Web Page Contributor
Robert Martin
Affliated with: Assistant Professor, Southeastern Lousiana University

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