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UNITED STATES V. REIDEL, 402 U. S. 351 (1971)

U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Reidel, 402 U.S. 351 (1971)

United States v. Reidel

No. 534

Argued January 20, 1971

Decided May 3, 1971

402 U.S. 351


Appellee, who had advertised in the newspaper the sale to persons over 21 years of age of a booklet entitled The True Facts About Imported Pornography, was indicted for mailing copies of the booklet in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1461, which prohibits the knowing use of the mails for the delivery of obscene matter. Appellee moved to dismiss the indictment, contending that the statute was unconstitutional. Assuming, arguendo, that the booklets were obscene, the trial judge granted the motion to dismiss on the ground that appellee made a constitutionally protected delivery and that § 1461 was unconstitutional as applied to him.

Held: Section 1461 is not unconstitutional as applied to the distribution of obscene materials to willing recipients who state that they are adults. Roth v. United States, 354 U. S. 476. The decision in Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U. S. 557, holding that a State's power to regulate obscenity does not extend to mere possession by an individual in the privacy of his own home, did not disturb Roth, supra. Pp. 402 U. S. 353-356.


WHITE, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and HARLAN, BRENNAN, STEWART, and BLACKMUN, JJ., joined. HARLAN, J., filed a concurring opinion, post, p. 402 U. S. 357. MARSHALL, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, post, p. 402 U. S. 360. BLACK, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which DOUGLAS, J., joined, post, p. 402 U. S. 379.

Page 402 U. S. 352

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