Miller v. CA

By: David H.

Basic Facts

Miller (the defendant) was convicted for send ads for “adult” books to unwilling citizens. The case’s purpose was to shift the determining factor of obscenity from the national government to state and local governments.

Constitutional Reference and Vocabulary

Obscenity- the state or quality of being obscene; obscene behavior, language, or images.

an extremely offensive word or expression.

Miller Test- (Three Prong Obscenity Test) was a test created to check if certain material is offensive to specific things/mannerisms

Time, Place, And manner- the rule states there is need for proper time and place for things/manners labelled as obscenity and the present crowd must be okay with what is being expressed.

Issue in reference to the constitution- is obscenity protected by the free speech clause of the first amendment.


The Court ruled that it was not. It indicated that "obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment", especially that of hardcore pornography, thereby reaffirming part of Roth.

General Significance (1971 on)

This Case Provided the states with more power when dealing with cases/lawsuits that deal with "obscenity" and reset the ruling of Roth v. US.

It lead to multiple cases as recent as 2002 that had almost the exact same ruling as miller received. Examples such as the 1982 case of New York v. Ferber and the 2002 case Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition.

This case could very well be overturned in the future, due to it is by far not the first of its kind and like-minded cases have been overturned. (over 60 were presented before the court prior to miller's case)

Miller v. California