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First Amendment of the Usa

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Under the First Amendment, the Supreme Court has protected “the free marketplace of ideas,” to be sure that the government cannot restrict speech based on its content. Give at least three examples of how the Court has distinguished between punishing a speaker’s message and the conduct associated with it. Be sure to back up your response with cases cited in the readings or other scholarly sources. Be sure to also use proper legal citation form for cases (or APA for non-legal sources). See the general resources section on proper legal citation form and the library resources page for APA citation form.

Freedom of speech means that individuals have the right to advocate their ideas. No matter how unpopular that idea may be, the First Amendment protects it. Words that some may consider to b crude, offensive, abusive or vulgar cannot be punishable. Although the First Amendment fails to recognize that some forms of expression can be threatening. Free expression is believed to function in a “free marketplace of ideas”, it furthermore fails to identify some of the most pressing threats.

One form of speech that is not protected is “fighting words” this known to inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace. An example would be, Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, US SC 1942. Walter Chaplinsky a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses was convicted in the court of Rochester, New Hampshire “for violation of Chapter 378, Section 2, of the Public Law of New Hampshire: ‘No person shall address any offensive, derisive or annoying word to any other person who is lawfully in any street or other public place, nor call him by any offensive or derisive name, nor make any noise or exclamation in his presence and hearing with intent to deride, offend or annoy him, or to prevent him from pursuing his lawful business or occupation.’” He called a city marshal a ‘God damned racketeer’ and ‘a damned fascist’ while on a public sidewalk near City Hall and was apprehended, found guilty, and the Supreme Court of the State of New Hampshire affirmed the court’s judgment.

Another form of speech of protected by the First Amendment is “speech plus.” This is defined as speech, which will incite immediate criminal activity. Words are used in certain circumstances and create a clear danger. In the Schenck v. United States. Charles Schenck was a Socialist who was against World War I. He mailed thousands of pamphlets to men who had been drafted saying the American government had no right to send citizens to kill people. The government accused Schenck of violating the Espionage Act, which Schenck thought was unconstitutional. Another example is the Hess v. Indiana case, 414 US 105 (1973). Gregory Hess was arrested for disorderly conduct during an antiwar demonstration the campus of Indiana University. During the demonstration, a group of protesters gathered in the street to block passage of a police vehicle that was transporting arrested protesters. Hess was arrested after one of the officers allegedly heard him shout “we’ll take the fucking street later,” or “we’ll take the fucking street again.” Hess was convicted of disorderly conduct and appealed his conviction up to the state supreme court. The state Supreme Court upheld Hess’ conviction on a finding that his exclamation was intended to encourage the crowd to engage in illegal activity and was likely to have that effect.

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