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Freedom of Speech and The Supreme Court

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1 Freedom of Speech and The Supreme Court
JJ Ryan, Harrison Smith, and Matthew Trasatti

2 The First Amendment “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

3 Schenck v. United States (1918)
Schenck sent circulars to draftees during WWII that suggested the draft was a “monstrous wrong” but only advised peaceful action as a response He was charged with conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act and obstruction of recruitment Outcome: Schenck was charged guilty and was not protected by the 1st Amendment “During wartime, utterances tolerable in peacetime can be punished”

4 Lorillard Tobacco vs. Reilly
The AG of Mass. Set up tough regulations on the sale and advertising of tobacco products. Lorillard Tobacco Company claimed that under the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, they had the right to do so because they were taking all the necessary steps to be legally advertising there Conclusion 5 votes for Lorillard Tobacco and 4 against.

5 Political Cartoon of Lorillard vs Reilly

6 Texas vs. Johnson During a republican Convention in Texas a man by the name of Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American flag. The state of Texas fined Johnson $200,000 and sentenced him to one year in prison. Johnson claimed that he could not be punished because he was expressing his freedom of speech Result: The Supreme Court ruled in the favor of Johnson 5:4 saying that he was expressing his freedom

7 Snyder v. Phelps (2011) The family of a deceased marine filed a lawsuit against the Westboro Baptist Church, who picketed at his funeral, with claims of invasion of privacy and emotional distress; the Church held signs like “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” The family was awarded $5 million in damages but the Supreme Court held that the First Amendment shields those who stage a protest at the funeral of a military service member from liability

8 Video: Westboro Baptist Leader

9 Westboro Baptist

10 Bethel School District v. Fraser
During a school function where candidates were giving speeches for student government positions, Matthew Fraser gave a speech that was considered to be vulgar in context due to the sexual metaphors it entailed. Fraser was suspended for two days and told that he would be unable to speak at graduation. Fraser sued School district saying that he was expressing his freedom of speech. Result: The court ruled 7:2 in the favor of the Bethel School District.

11 Gitlow v. New York (1922) Gitlow was distributing a “left-wing manifesto” that called for socialism through strikes and class action Gitlow claimed that since there was no resulting action from the manifesto the statute was incorrect Outcome: The defendant was found guilty due to the possibility of danger to public security This shows that a state may forbid both speech and publication if it could result in action, such as riots, dangerous to public security

12 Chaplinsky v. State of New Hampshire (1941)
Chaplinsky, a Jehovah’s Witness, called a city marshal a few obscene terms in a public place He was convicted under the state law for violating a breach of the peace Outcome: Because Chaplinsky uttered “fighting words” he was guilty This shows that some forms of expression, such as obscenity or “fighting words”, do not convey ideas and are not subject to 1st Amendment protection

13 Roth v. United States (1956) Roth operated a book selling business in NY and was convicted of mailing obscene circulars and an obscene book in violation of federal obscenity statute Outcome: The Court ruled in favor of the US holding that the 1st Amendment was not intended to protect “every utterance of expression” This shows that obscenity was not “within the area of constitutionally protected speech or press”

14 Tinker vs. Des Moines In the midst of the Vietnam War three teens John Tinker, Mary Beth Tinker, and Christopher Echardt decided to protest the War by wearing black armbands. There school suspended the students and made it clear they were to not come back until they could do so without the armbands. The tinkers sued the city of Des Moines saying that they were expressing their freedom of speech Result: The supreme court ruled in the favor of the Tinkers saying by the power of the 1st Amendment they were allowed to wear the black armbands to school

15 Political Cartoon

16 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2009)
Citizens United sought an injunction against the FEC in order to prevent the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) and its film Hillary: The Movie; which criticized Senator Hillary Clintons candidacy for president of the United States The Supreme Court held that under the First Amendment, corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited, the film provided voters with “electorate information”; political speech is indispensable to a democracy

17 McConnell vs FEC John McCain and Russell Feingold helped pass the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002 which changed the way political parties can receive money. The bill contained provision providing for an early federal trial and direct appeal to the Supreme court, by passing the typical federal judicial process. Conclusion 5 votes for McConnell, 4 against

18 R.A.V. V. St. Paul A few teenagers we said to have burned a cross on a black families lawn. They were charged under the motivated criminal ordinance Doesn’t allow the display of symbols that may spark anger or resentment in others, especially race, color, or religion The teenagers said their freedom of speech was challenged Result: The Supreme Court ruled Unanimously in the favor of R.A.V The teenagers we expressing their freedom of speech and this prevents the government from punishingthem

19 Brandenburg V. Ohio Brandenburg was a leader in the KK who was convicted after giving a speech at a clan rally. The Ohio law claimed Brandenburg couldn’t give a speech in a public area with the goal of criminal actions Brandenburg claimed the state was violating his right to freedom of speech Result: the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Brandenburg They used a two-pronged test to evaluate

20 Morse v. Frederick (2007) A student (Frederick) held up sign promoting drug use at a school-supervised event and was suspended He alleged it violated the First Amendment; Tinker v. Des Moines was cited The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Morse (The Principal) stating that even though the message was “cryptic” Frederick’s sign promoted marijuana use This showed that the highly protective standard set by Tinker would not always be applied

21 Board of Regents Univ. Wisconsin V. Southworth
Public University that required student to pay an Activity fee to support extracurricular. Scott Harold Southworth filed a lawsuit against the U. claiming the fee violated his freedom of speech, association, and exercise in relation to the 1st Amendment because he was indirectly paying for others clubs who had view in which he did not agree Result: The Supreme Court ruled Unanimously in favor of the Univ. f Wisc. Public Univ. are allowed to charge an activity fee as long as the viewpoint is neutral

22 Virginia vs Black Barry Black, Richard Elliott, and Jonathan O’Mara convicted of burning a cross which is against a Virginia statue. All three pleaded on different terms. The Virginia Supreme Court said that the cross burning statue is unconstitutional at face value. Conclusion 7 votes for Virginia, 2 votes against

23 Article on Free Speech in the Digital Age
r/ _A_digital_boost_for_free_speech .html What do you think social media has done for the first amendment? How has it has a positive effect? Negative? What can be done to educate the youth about their first amendment rights, especially in situations that involve digital media? What are some examples of using Social media positively and negatively to exercise your first amendment rights?

24 Bib BRANDENBURG v. OHIO. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 20 September < /1968/1968_492>. R.A.V. v. ST. PAUL. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 19 September /1991/1991_90_7675. BOARD OF REGENTS UNIV. WISC. v. SOUTHWORTH. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 20 September < /1999/1999_98_1189>.

25 Bib TEXAS v. JOHNSON. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 19 September < /1988/1988_88_155>. TINKER v. DES MOINES IND. COMM. SCHOOL DIST.. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 19 September < /1968/1968_21>. BETHEL SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 403 v. FRASER. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 16 September < /1985/1985_84_1667>.

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