Walker v. City of Birmingham

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Walker v. City of Birmingham
Court Supreme Court of the United States
Date decided June 12, 1967
Appealed from Supreme Court of Alabama


Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested on Good Friday in April 1963 for violating an anti-protest court injunction in Birmingham, Alabama. While in prison, King wrote his "Letter from Birmingham Jail".

Wyatt Walker (1929 - 2018) was a friend of MLK named in this lawsuit. Walker's request for a protest permit on Easter in 1963 had been denied by the City of Birmingham, Alabama.

Walker, MLK, and other protestors defied the anti-protest court injunction and marched anyway.

Procedural History

At their order to show cause court hearing, Walker and others challenged the constitutionality of the court injunction and the city's parade ordinance.

Walker loses at the trial and Supreme Court of Alabama.


Is it legally okay to disobey a court injunction if the constitutional validity of the court order is disputed by the challenger (MLK and protesters)?


Walker and MLK contended that because the protest permit denial violated their 1st Amendment rights, they had a right to violate the injunction of the Alabama court.

The trial judge argued that the demonstrators hadn't filed a motion to seek to dissolve the injunction against protesting.


A party must obey a court injunction even if the party doubts the constitutionality of the order. The challenging party must first challenge the injunction through the judicial process.