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district. It filed these plans with the Superintendent of the Bureau of Buildings on September 1, 1922, for the purpose of having them approved and obtaining a building permit. The Superintendent on the same day issued a temporary permit for the necessary installation of footings and foundations; but on the next day revoked this temporary permit, because of a petition that had been forwarded by other owners of property in Midwood Manor to the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, to place this locality within an E area district. On October 20, 1922, the Board, after a public hearing, amended the Zoning Resolution of 1916 by changing this locality, including the relator's plot, from a C to an E area district. On the following day the Superintendent refused approval of the relator's plans because the proposed building was contrary to the regulations of the Zoning Resolution applicable to an E area district.


On January 25, 1923, the relator filed the present petition for peremptory mandamus against the Superintendent. In this petition the relator did not challenge in any way the constitutionality of the substantive provisions of the Zoning Resolution, either in reference to E area districts or otherwise, but did allege, in general terms, that the amendment of October 20, 1922, deprived it of its property in violation of the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. In other

2 By the Building Code of the city the Superintendent was required to approve or reject any application or plan "within a reasonable time"; and, if approved, to promptly issue a permit therefor.

3 Meanwhile, in a suit by an owner of other property in Midwood Manor, the relator had been enjoined from constructing the apartment house, in violation of the restrictive covenants, prior to Jan. 1, 1923. And an earlier petition filed by the relator for a peremptory mandamus against the Superintendent had been denied because of the pendency of this injunction, but without prejudice to an application to be made after its vacation or termination. 204 App. Div. 883; 236 N. Y. 605.

Opinion of the Court.

268 U.S.

words, it merely challenged the constitutionality of the transfer of its property from a C to an E area district, but did not challenge the constitutionality of the provisions in reference to E area districts in and of themselves.

The petition was denied by the Supreme Court on the ground that the building for which the relator desired a permit would, if constructed, be in violation of the Zoning Resolution as amended, and would be unlawful. There was no reference in the opinion to any constitutional question; and the order of the Supreme Court was affirmed by the Appellate Division and the Court of Appeals, without opinions.

1. The relator by its assignments of error challenges the constitutionality of the substantive provisions of the Zoning Resolution, especially as to the restrictions in an E area district made applicable to its plot by the amendment of October, 1922, and earnestly contends, in an elaborate argument, that such restrictions are not regulatory, but confiscatory, and have no such relation to the public welfare, as justifies the exercise of the police power of the State. This broadly outlined, is the contention made both in the oral argument and the relator's brief.

It is clear, however, that no question as to alleged unconstitutionality of the substantive provisions of the Zoning Resolution or of the particular provisions relating to E area districts, was presented by the petition for mandamus; and no such question appears to have been presented to any of the State courts, or to have been considered or determined by them. It is well settled that this Court is without jurisdiction to review the judgment of a State court on a writ of error, by reason of a federal question which was not raised below or called to the attention of or decided by the State court. Cincinnati, etc., Ry. v. Slade, 216 U. S. 78, 83; El Paso and Southwestern R. R. v. Eichil, 226 U. S. 590, 597. The writ of error in the present case, therefore, does not bring up for our de

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termination the question as to the constitutionality of the substantive provisions of the Zoning Resolution as to which it is now sought to invoke our decision.

2. While there is an incidental statement in the relator's brief that the amendment of the Zoning Resolution has resulted in restricting the principal use to which relator's property may be put, and also in the illegal confiscation of the plans prepared to conform to a C area district, no argument is made as to this question. And we find that the assignments of error do not, in any tangible or specific way, present any question as to the constitutionality of such amendment, but, that, reasonably construed, they relate merely to the constitutionality of the substantive provisions of the Zoning Resolution made applicable to the relator's property by the amendment. In short, the assignments challenge the constitutionality of the restrictive provisions themselves, and not the transfer from one area district to another. Nor is there in the relator's brief any specification of the errors relied upon, as required by Rule 21 of this Court, par. 2, cl. (2), setting up separately and particularly any error asserted in reference to the constitutionality of the amendment itself. This question is therefore not properly before us, even if its presentation was in fact intended.

As the only federal question properly presented by the assignments of error, namely, the constitutionality of the substantive provisions of the Zoning Resolution, is one which, for the reasons already stated, is not brought within our jurisdiction by the writ of error, we conclude that, without consideration of the merits, the writ must be dismissed, and it is so ordered.

Writ of error dismissed.


268 U.S.



No. 19. Argued April 12, 1923; reargued November 23, 1923.Decided June 8, 1925.

1. Assumed, for the purposes of the case, that freedom of speech and of the press are among the personal rights and liberties protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment from impairment by the States. P. 666.

2. Freedom of speech and of the press, as secured by the Constitution, is not an absolute right to speak or publish without responsibility whatever one may choose or an immunity for every possible use of language. P. 666.

3. That a State, in the exercise of its police power, may punish those who abuse this freedom by utterances inimical to the public welware, tending to corrupt public morals, incite to crime or disturb the public peace, is not open to question. P. 667.

4. For yet more imperative reasons, a State may punish utterances endangering the foundations of organized government and threatening its overthrow by unlawful means. P. 667.

5. A statute punishing utterances advocating the overthrow of organized government by force, violence and unlawful means, imports a legislative determination that such utterances are SO inimical to the general welfare and involve such danger of substantive evil that they may be penalized under the police power; and this determination must be given great weight, and every presumption be indulged in favor of the validity of the statute. P. 668.

6. Such utterances present sufficient danger to the public peace and security of the State to bring their punishment clearly within the range of legislative discretion, even if the effect of a given utterance can not accurately be foreseen. P. 669.

7. A State can not reasonably be required to defer taking measures against these revolutionary utterances until they lead to actual disturbances of the peace or imminent danger of the State's destruction. P. 669.

8. The New York statute punishing those who advocate, advise or teach the duty, necessity or propriety of overthrowing or overturning organized government by force, violence, or any unlawful means, or who print, publish, or knowingly circulate any book,

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paper, etc., advocating, advising or teaching the doctrine that organized government should be so overthrown, does not penalize the utterance or publication of abstract doctrine or academic discussion having no quality of incitement to any concrete action, but denounces the advocacy of action for accomplishing the overthrow of organized government by unlawful means, and is constitutional as applied to a printed "Manifesto" advocating and urging mass action which shall progressively foment industrial disturbances and, through political mass strikes and revolutionary mass action overthrow and destroy organized parliamentary government; even though the advocacy was in general terms and not addressed to particular immediate acts or to particular persons. Pp. 654, 672. 9. The statute being constitutional, it may constitutionally be applied to every utterance-not too trivial to be beneath the notice of the law-which is of such a character and used with such intent and purpose as to bring it within the prohibition of the statute; and the question whether the specific utterance in question was likely to bring about the substantive evil aimed at by the statute, is not open to consideration. Schenck v. United States, 249 U. S. 47, explained. P. 670.

195 App. Div. 773; 234 N. Y., 132, 539, affirmed.

ERROR to a judgment of the Supreme Court of New York, affirmed by the Appellate Division thereof and by the Court of Appeals, sentencing the plaintiff in error for the crime of criminal anarchy, (New York Laws, 1909, c. 88), of which he had been convicted by a jury.

Messrs. Walter Nelles and Walter H. Pollak, with whom Messrs. Albert De Silver and Charles S. Ascher were on the brief, for plaintiff in error.

Messrs W. J. Weatherbee, Deputy Attorney General of New York, and John Caldwell Myers, Assistant District Attorney of New York County, with whom Messrs. Carl Sherman, Attorney General of New York, Claude T. Dawes, Deputy Attorney General of New York, Joab H. Banton, District Attorney of New York County, and John F. O'Neil, Assistant District Attorney of New York County, were on the briefs, for defendant in error.

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