In this landmark ruling, the Supreme Court held that the First and Fourteenth Amendments protected the right of an organization to use the courts in promoting its organizational mission.
The Virginia legislature enacted a “barratry” statute that threatened to disbar attorneys who represented an organization sponsoring a judicial proceeding without having a “pecuniary interest” in the outcome. The purpose of the statute was to prevent the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and other civil rights organizations from sponsoring antisegregation litigation. By a 6-3 majority, the Supreme Court ruled that the statute was unconstitutional. Justice William J. Brennan, Jr.’s
Supporters of the NAACP gathering at a rally in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1964.
Assembly and association, freedom of
Legal Defense Fund, NAACP
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Alabama
Race and discrimination