Freedom of Speech as Defined by Law Essay

Freedom of Speech as Defined by Law Essay

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The definition of freedom of speech is the right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to express beliefs and ideas without unwarranted government restriction. (Morse & Mish, 2012) However, one cannot go about just saying whatever they please. There are in fact limitations to what one can say. Some might say that that is unconstitutional, but is it unconstitutional to prevent people from threatening others or preventing others from incriminating another person’s rights. I think not. The Supreme Court is the judge of whether or not a person has or has not broken the law regarding freedom of speech.
Schenck v. United States
The Supreme Court case Schenck v. United States was argued January 8 thru January 10, 1919. The court case was decided on March 3, 1919. The Court’s decision was a unanimous 9-0 against Schenck, written by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes; Chief Justice Edward D. White and associative Justices Joseph McKenna, William R. Day, Willis Van Devanter, Mahlon Pitney, James C. McReynolds, Louis Brandeis, and John H. Clarke were all members of the court. The main topic of the case was the violation of the Espionage Act of 1917 and therefore the 1st Amendment as well.
Charles Schenck was strongly against World War I as were many other socialists at the time. As a result of Schenck’s hatred towards the war he mailed thousands of pamphlets to men who could potentially become drafted into the United States Armed Forces. The pamphlets stated that the men should not submit to the draft and the government itself. Schenck declared that the draft was involuntary servitude which is illegal under the 13th Amendment. The pamphlets also urged draftees to sign an anti-draft petition at the So...


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...derson, K., Barnes-Svarney, P., Brown, B., Corey, M., Jones, C., Heacock, P., Nolen, A., & Elliot, S. (1998). New york public library desk reference. (3rd ed., p. p.436). Simon & Schuster Macmillan.
Baen, D., Simon, F., Saire, T., & Aldorsen, K. (2013, November). Dennis v. united states / casebriefs. Retrieved from http://www.casebriefs.com/blog/law/constitutional-law/constitutional-law-keyed-to-stone/freedom-of-expression/dennis-v-united-states-2/2/
Herrick, A., & Johnson, L. (2013). Tinker v. des moines independent community school district. Retrieved from http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1968/1968_21
Morse, J., & Mish, L. (2012). DOI: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/
Pearson Prentice Hall. (2012). Pearson prentice hall: Supreme court cases. Retrieved from http://www.phschool.com/atschool/ss_web_codes/supreme_court_cases/dennis.html

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