A Quantity of Books v. Kansas

In A Quantity of Books v. Kansas, 378 U.S. 205, 84 S.Ct. 1723, 12 L.Ed.2d 809 (1964), the Supreme Court was confronted with a situation involving massive seizures of books pursuant to state statutes which authorized the seizure of obscene materials as a first step in civil proceedings seeking their destruction. The police there had seized 1,715 copies of 31 novels. In holding the wholesale seizures of allegedly obscene books without a prior adversary hearing constitutionally infirm under the first amendment, the Court expressed deep concern over prior restraints which might erode areas traditionally given broad first amendment protection and which would effectively undermine "the public's opportunity to obtain the publications." Books, supra, at 211, 84 S.Ct. at 1726.