National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Button, Attorney General of Virginia, ET
Supreme Court of the United States
November 8, 1961, Argued
January 14, 1963, Decided
Prior History: Certiorari to the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia.
Procedural Posture: Certiorari was issues to the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia, which determined that petitioner national association was included within a statutory ban against improper solicitation of any legal or professional business. Petitioner claimed application of the statute violated U.S. Const. amend. I because it prevented petitioner from aiding other in asserting their constutionally protected rights.
Overview: The Supreme Court revered the order of the state court of appeals. Respondent government argued that the statute prohibiting activities of petitioner National Association for the Advancement of Colored People from aiding potential parties to litigation merely restated the law against solicitation. On review, the court found that petitioner’s activities were to assist potential parties in asserting their constitutionally guaranteed rights, and came under the U.S. Const. amend. I protection of vigorous advocacy against government intrusion. The court noted that a state may not ignore constitutional rights under the guise of prohibiting professional misconduct, and found that the dangers of unfair financial sacrifices in performing their services.
Outcome: The Supreme Court revered the order of the state court of appeals, which held that the association was prohibited from assisting potential parties, because the association aided potential parties in asserting their constitutionally protected rights and was protected under U.S. Const. amend. I, and the dangers of unfair competition among attorneys were not present.
Summary: In a suit brought by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Inc. (NAACP) and another complainant in the United States District Court for the Eastern District