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American Scholar

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Ralph Ginzburg may have been a victim of a self-defeating prophecy. In an issue of Fact, published in the summer of 1965, Ginzburg said he believed his case (in which he was convicted by a federal court in Philadelphia of mailing obscene material, namely, the magazine Eros, The Housewife’s Handbook on Selective Promiscuity, and a newsletter called Laison) stood a better than average chance for review and reversal by the United States Supreme Court. This was so, Ginzburg wrote, because the American Civil Liberties Union the Authors’ League of America and other distinguished American citizens were filing amicus briefs on his behalf, and because the Post Office Department had begun a “reckless campaign of federal censorship” on the basis of his conviction. He concluded by saying that the Supreme Court may reverse “simply because the Constitution says it must.” In addition, Ginzburg in full-page advertisements for fact expressed his pride in creating Eros, and on the radio and to the press predicted that his case would once and for all tie settle the question of obscenity in the United States.