Vanderbilt Law Review

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The Supreme Court of the United States has now made binding law of its oft-repeated dictum that obscenity is beyond the pale of constitutionally protected free expression. After being spared-or avoiding-the necessity of ruling squarely on the constitutional status of obscene matter for 169 years, the Court addressed itself to virtually every aspect of the whole slippery problem in a single year. The Court disposed of seven obscene publication cases' in the twelvemonths through January, 1958. These included three reversals this term in memorandum decisions merely citing the major opinion of the series, which was handed down in the combined cases of Roth v. United States and Alberts v. California. The net result appears to be that the controlling constitutional issue in obscenity cases hereafter will be the proper application of the definition of obscenity laid down by the five-man majority in Roth: