Murdock v. Pennsylvania: License for Solicitors is an Unconstitutional Tax

Murdock v. Pennsylvania: License for Solicitors is an Unconstitutional Tax

Murdock v. Pennsylvania

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Decided: Murdock v. Pennsylvania — The U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 that a Jeanette ordinance requiring solicitors to purchase a license from the borough is an unconstitutional tax on the Jehovah's Witnesses' right to freely exercise their religion.

Justice William O. Douglas writes in the majority opinion:

"We do not mean to say that religious groups and the press are free from all financial burdens of government. ...

We only hold that spreading one's religious beliefs or preaching the Gospel through distribution of religious literature and through personal visitations is an age-old type of evangelism with as high a claim to constitutional protection as the more orthodox types."

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