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Powerpoint by: Ben Shelton Information donated by: Ben’s group

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1 Powerpoint by: Ben Shelton Information donated by: Ben’s group
Court Cases Powerpoint by: Ben Shelton Information donated by: Ben’s group

2 Miller vs. California (1971)

3 Miller, after conducting a mass mailing campaign to advertise the sale of "adult" material, was convicted of violating a California statute prohibiting the distribution of obscene material. Some unwilling recipients of Miller's brochures complained to the police, initiating the legal proceedings

4 Is the sale and distribution of obscene materials by mail protected under the First Amendment's freedom of speech guarantee?

5 How did the court rule? 5 votes for Miller, 4 votes against Court held that obscene materials did not enjoy 1st amendment protection; including that of community standards.

6 Morse vs. Frederick (2006)

7 At a school-supervised event, Joseph Frederick held up a banner with the message "Bong Hits 4 Jesus," a slang reference to marijuana smoking. Principal Deborah Morse took away the banner and suspended Frederick for ten days. She justified her actions by citing the school's policy against the display of material that promotes the use of illegal drugs. Frederick sued under 42 U.S.C. 1983, the federal civil rights statute, alleging a violation of his First Amendment right to freedom of speech. The District Court found no constitutional violation and ruled in favor of Morse. The court held that even if there were a violation, the principal had qualified immunity from lawsuit. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed. The Ninth Circuit cited Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, which extended First Amendment protection to student speech except where the speech would cause a disturbance. Because Frederick was punished for his message rather than for any disturbance, the Circuit Court ruled, the punishment was unconstitutional. Furthermore, the principal had no qualified immunity, because any reasonable principal would have known that Morse's actions were unlawful.

8 1) Does the First Amendment allow public schools to prohibit students from displaying messages promoting the use of illegal drugs at school-supervised events? 2) Does a school official have qualified immunity from a damages lawsuit under 42 U.S.C when, in accordance with school policy, she disciplines a student for displaying a banner with a drug reference at a school-supervised event?

9 How did the court rule? 5 votes for Morse, 4 votes against Chief Justice John Roberts majority opinion held that although students do have some right to poilitical speech even while in school, this right does not extend to pro-drug messages that may undermine the school’s important mission to discourage drug use

10 Tinker vs. Des Moines (1968)

11 John F. Tinker (age 15) and Christopher Eckhardt, (age 16), attended high schools in Des Moines, Iowa. Mary Beth Tinker, John's sister, was a 13-year-old student in junior high school. In December, 1965, a group of adults and students in Des Moines held a meeting at the Eckhardt home. The group determined to publicize their objections to the hostilities in Vietnam and their support for a truce by wearing black armbands during the holiday season and by fasting on December 16 and New Year's Eve. Petitioners and their parents had previously engaged in similar activities, and they decided to participate in the program. The principals of the Des Moines schools became aware of the plan to wear armbands. On December 14, 1965, they met and adopted a policy that any student wearing an armband to school would be asked to remove it, and, if he refused, he would be suspended until he returned without the armband. Petitioners were aware of the regulation that the school authorities adopted. On December 16, Mary Beth and Christopher wore black armbands to their schools. John Tinker wore his armband the next day. They were all sent home and suspended from school until they would come back without their armbands. They did not return to school until after the planned period for wearing armbands had expired after New Year's Day. This complaint was filed in the United States District Court by the children, through their fathers, under 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code. It prayed for an injunction restraining the respondent school officials and the respondent members of the board of directors of the school district from disciplining the petitioners, and it sought nominal damages

12 Does a prohibition against the wearing of armbands in public school, as a form of symbolic protest, violate the students' freedom of speech protections guaranteed by the First Amendment?

13 What did the court rule? 7 for Tinker, 2 against After an evidentiary hearing, the District Court dismissed the complaint. It upheld the constitutionality of the school authorities' action on the ground that it was reasonable in order to prevent disturbance of school discipline. The court referred to, but expressly declined to follow, the Fifth Circuit's holding in a similar case that the wearing of symbols like the armbands cannot be prohibited unless it "materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school.” The District Court recognized that the wearing of an armband for the purpose of expressing certain views is the type of symbolic act that is within the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. As we shall discuss, the wearing of armbands in the circumstances of this case was entirely divorced from actually or potentially disruptive conduct by those participating in it. It was closely akin to "pure speech" which is entitled to protection under the First Amendment

14 Sheppard vs. Maxwell (1965)

15 After suffering a trial court conviction of second-degree murder for the bludgeoning death of his pregnant wife, Samuel Sheppard challenged the verdict as the product of an unfair trial. Sheppard, who maintained his innocence of the crime, alleged that the trial judge failed to protect him from the massive, widespread, and prejudicial publicity that attended his prosecution. On appeal from an Ohio district court ruling supporting his claim, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed. When Sheppard appealed again, the Supreme Court granted certiorari.

16 What threshold must be crossed before a trial is said to be so prejudicial, due to context and publicity, as to interfere with a defendant's Fifth Amendment due process right to a fair trial?

17 What did the court rule? 8-1 Sheppard Freedom of expression is important, but not important enough to override his right to a fair trial. Public broadcast provided bias that influenced the jury, the judge should’ve postponed the trial or changed venues in order to insure a fair trial.

18 BSA vs. Dale (2000)

19 James Dale entered scouting in 1978 at the age of eight by joining Monmouth Council’s Cub Scout Pack 142. Dale became a Boy Scout in 1981 and remained a Scout until he turned 18. In 1988, he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, The highest position awarded in the organization. Dale applied for adult membership in the Boy Scouts in 1989 and was approved by The Boy Scouts for the position of assistant scoutmaster of Troop 73. Around the same time, Dale left home to attend Rutgers University, where he first acknowledged to himself and others that he is gay. He quickly became involved with, and eventually became the co-president of, the Rutgers University Lesbian/Gay Alliance. In 1990, Dale attended a public seminar addressing the psychological and health needs of lesbian and gay teenagers and a newspaper covering the event interviewed Dale about his advocacy of homosexual teenagers’ need for gay role models. In early July 1990, the newspaper published the interview and Dale’s photograph over a caption identifying him as the co-president of the Lesbian/Gay Alliance. Later that month, Dale received a letter from Monmouth Council Executive James Kay revoking his adult membership. He promptly wrote back to Kay, requesting the reason for Monmouth Council’s decision. Kay responded, stating that that the Boy Scouts, “specifically forbid membership to homosexuals.” Dale filed a complaint in 1992 against the Boy Scouts in the New Jersey Superior Court. Accusing the Boy Scouts of violating New Jersey’s public accommodations statute and common law by revoking Dale’s membership based solely on his sexual orientation. New Jersey’s public accommodations statute prohibits, among other things, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in places of public accommodation.

20 Does the application of New Jersey's public accommodations law violate the Boy Scouts' First Amendment right of expressive association to bar homosexuals from serving as troop leaders?

21 What did the court rule? 5-4 BSA
The New Jersey Superior Court’s Chancery Division granted summary judgment in favor of the Boy Scouts. The court held that New Jersey’s public accommodations law was inapplicable because the Boy Scouts was not a place of public accommodation, and that, alternatively, the Boy Scouts is a distinctly private group exempted from coverage under New Jersey’s law. The court rejected Dale’s common-law claim holding that New Jersey’s policy is embodied in the public accommodations law. The court also concluded that the Boy Scouts’ position in respect of active homosexuality was clear and held that the First Amendment freedom of expressive association prevented the government from forcing the Boy Scouts to accept Dale as an adult leader.

22 Roth vs. U.S. (1957)

23 Roth operated a book-selling business in New York and was convicted of mailing obscene circulars and an obscene book in violation of a federal obscenity statute. Roth's case was combined with Alberts v. California, in which a California obscenity law was challenged by Alberts after his similar conviction for selling lewd and obscene books in addition to composing and publishing obscene advertisements for his products.

24 Did either the federal or California's obscenity restrictions, prohibiting the sale or transfer of obscene materials through the mail, impinge upon the freedom of expression as guaranteed by the First Amendment?

25 How did the court rule? 6-3 U.S Supreme court ruled that obscenity is not within the area of constitutionally protected speech or press.

26 Edwards vs. Aguillard (1987)

27 A Louisiana law entitled the "Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science in Public School Instruction Act" prohibited the teaching of the theory of evolution in the public schools unless that instruction was accompanied by the teaching of creation science, a Biblical belief that advanced forms of life appeared abruptly on Earth. Schools were not forced to teach creation science. However, if either topic was to be addressed, evolution or creation, teachers were obligated to discuss the other as well.

28 Did the Louisiana law, which mandated the teaching of "creation science" along with the theory of evolution, violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment as applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment?

29 What did the court rule? 7-2 Aguillard Teaching creationism in public schools is unconstitutional because it attempts to advance a particular religion.

30 Collins vs. Smith (1977)

31 Prior to World War II, there was a small yet fairly significant Nazi movement in the United States, which grew out of the German-American Bund. After the war, the movement was discredited, and survived only due to the leadership of George Lincoln Rockwell, who was assassinated in As with other fringe groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, hatred and prejudice kept the National Socialist Party of America alive with a small but vocal membership. In the mid1970s, to generate publicity and attract new members, Nazi leader Frank Collin targeted the Chicago, Illinois, suburb of Skokie as a site for a series of marches and demonstrations. Over half of Skokie's 70,000 residents were Jewish, and many were survivors of German concentration camps. Seeing Nazi marchers and the swastika was bound to bring back tragic memories. Skokie was initially successful in getting an injunction against any Nazi marches from the Illinois state courts, but the Supreme Court summarily dismissed the injunction as unconstitutionally infringing on the Nazis' First Amendment right to political expression. Determined to protect its Jewish residents, on May 2, 1977, Skokie decided to thwart the Nazis by passing a series of municipal ordinances. The ordinances required any group wishing to stage a public demonstration to obtain $350,000 in liability and property insurance, and forbade the dissemination of racist literature and the wearing of military-style uniforms by group members during such demonstrations. The Nazis promptly took Albert Smith, president of the Village of Skokie, and other municipal officials to court.

32 Are the Nazi’s allowed to march under the 1st amendment rights?

33 What did the court rule? 5-4 Nazis Skokie could not prevent the Nazis from marching

34 Near vs. Minnesota (1931)

35 Jay Near published a scandal sheet in Minneapolis, in which he attacked local officals, charging that they were implicated with gangsters. Minnesota officials obtained an injunction to prevent Near from publishing his newspaper under a state law that allowed such action against periodicals. The law provided that any person “engaged in the business” of regularly publishing or circulating an “obscene, lewd, and lascivious” or a “malicious, scandalous and defamatory” newspaper or periodical was guilty of a nuisance, and could be enjoined (stopped) from further committing or maintaining the nuisance.

36 Does the Minnesota "gag law" violate the free press provision of the First Amendment?

37 What did the court rule? 5-4 Near
5 votes for Near, 4 votes against. The supreme Court held that the statute authorizing the injunction was unconstitutional as applied. History had shown that the protection against previous restraints was at the heart of the First Amendment. The Court held that the statutory scheme constituted a prior restraint and hence was invalid under the First Amendment. Thus the Court established as a constitutional principle the doctrine that, with some narrow exceptions, the government could not censor or otherwise prohibit a publication in advance, even though the communication might be punishable after publication in a criminal or other proceeding.

38 New York Times vs. U.S. (1971) .

39 In what became known as the “Pentagon Papers Case,” the Nixon Administration attempted to prevent the New York Times and Washington Post from publishing materials belonging to a classified Defense Department study regarding the history of United States activities in Vietnam. The President argued that prior restraint was necessary to protect national security. This case was decided together with United States vs. Washington Post co.

40 Did the Nixon administration's efforts to prevent the publication of what it termed "classified information" violate the First Amendment?

41 What did the court rule? 6-3 NY times With 6 votes to 3 the court decided yes. In its per curiam opinion the Court held that the government did not overcome the “heavy presumption against” prior restraint of the press in this case. Justices Black and Douglas argued that the vague word “security” should not be used “to abrogate the fundamental law embodied in the First Amendment” Justice Brennan reasoned that since publication would not cause an inevitable, direct and immediate event impending the safety of American forces, prior restraint was unjustified.

42 Church of Lukumi Babala vs. City of Hiaheah (1993)

43 The Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye leased land in Hialeah, Florida and planned to establish a church, school, and cultural center there. They would bring their practice of Santeria, which included the ritual sacrifice of animals, into the area. Animal sacrifice is practiced at birth, marriage, and death rites. It is also used for curing the sick and other annual ceremonies. As a response to this, the city of Hialeah passed several ordinances prohibiting animal sacrifice. The Church claimed that this violated their First Amendment rights to freely exercise their religion. 

44 Did the city of Hialeah's ordinance, prohibiting ritual animal sacrifices, violate the First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause?

45 How did the court rule? Unanimous vote-City of Hialeah
In order to avoid having to meet the compelling interest requirement, a law must be both neutral and generally applicable. "Official action that targets religious conduct for distinctive treatment cannot be shielded by mere compliance with the requirement of facial neutrality." The suppression of Santeria was the central purpose of the law as noted by the use of terms such as 'ritual' and sacrifice' in the statute. Also, a resolution was passed that spoke harshly against "practices which are inconsistent with public morals, peace of safety," and "reiterated" the city's commitment to prohibit "any and all [such] acts of any and all religious groups." If the city's primary purpose was to protect against cruelty to animals, a less restrictive ordinance could have been passed. The city claimed to have two interests in passing the legislation: protecting the public health and preventing cruelty to animals. However, the laws that were passed did not go far enough to meet these interests. They limited the laws to cover only the types of practices that would occur during Santeria. 

46 Texas vs. Johnson (1989)

47 Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American flag outside of the convention center where the 1984 Republican National Convention was being held in Dallas, Texas. Johnson burned the flag to protest the policies of President Ronald Reagan. He was arrested and charged with violating a Texas statute that prevented the desecration of a venerated object, including the American flag, if such action were likely to incite anger in others. A Texas court tried and convicted Johnson. He appealed, arguing that his actions were "symbolic speech" protected by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court agreed to hear his case.

48 Is the desecration of an American flag, by burning or otherwise, a form of speech that is protected under the First Amendment?

49 What did the court rule? 7-3 Johnson
The majority of the Court, according to Justice William Brennan, agreed with Johnson and held that flag burning constitutes a form of "symbolic speech" that is protected by the First Amendment. The majority noted that freedom of speech protects actions that society may find very offensive, but society's outrage alone is not justification for suppressing free speech. In particular, the majority noted that the Texas law discriminated upon viewpoint, i.e., although the law punished actions, such as flag burning, that might arouse anger in others, it specifically exempted from prosecution actions that were respectful of venerated objects, e.g., burning and burying a worn-out flag. The majority said that the government could not discriminate in this manner based solely upon viewpoint.

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