Freedom of Speech Honors American Government
Warm-up • Looking at the previous lesson, describe the rights of citizens and the rights of non-citizens.
Forms of Free Speech • While free speech is guaranteed by the 1st amendment, there are certain restrictions. • A person can be punished for: • Using obscene language. • Using words in a way that causes another person to commit a crime (i.e. to riot or to desert the military). • Another example of limited free speech, is when it contradicts the right to a fair trial guaranteed by the 6th amendment.
Dennis vs. United States • This court case stemmed from the Smith Act passed in 1940. • This act made it illegal for “anyone to advocate the violent overthrow the government of the United States.” • This court case upheld the Smith act. • 11 communist party leaders were convicted of advocating the overthrow of the federal government. • It was found that their that their actions constituted a clear and present danger to the country.
Brandenburg vs. Ohio • A Ku Klux Klan leader, was convicted under the Ohio Criminal Syndicalism statute for: • advocat[ing] . . . the duty, necessity, or propriety of crime, sabotage, violence, or unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reform and for voluntarily assembl[ing] with any society, group or assemblage of persons formed to teach or advocate the doctrines of criminal syndicalism. • This case stated that freedom of speech didn’t extend to those who incite others to take illegal actions.
Texas vs. Johnson • According to this case, burning the American flag as an act of political protest is expressive conduct protected by the 1st and 14th amendment. • In a 5-4 decision it was ruled that a law forbidding the “desecration of a venerated object” forbade freedoms of expression held up by the 1st and 14th amendment.
Near vs. Minnesota • This case struck down a state law that prohibited the publication of any “malicious, scandalous, and defamatory” periodicals. • The Saturday Press a Minnesota newspaper charged public corruption and attacking “grafters” and “Jewish gangsters.” • The case guaranteed free speech can not be restrained unless in extreme cases of war, or when a publication is obscene or incites violence.
Restraint • Prior Restraint: • Prior restraint is an attempt to prevent publication or broadcast of any statement, which is an unconstitutional restraint on free speech and free press.
Pentagon Papers • In this case, documents had been stolen from the State Department discussing strategy used during the Vietnam war. • The government tried to stop the publication of these documents, stating that the publication would damage national security. • The court upheld the right of the papers to publish these papers as the government did not prove the publication of the Pentagon Papers would endanger the nation’s security.
The Sheppard Case • In this case Dr. Samuel Sheppard was convicted of murdering his wife. • The long trial was nationally publicized. • Because of the national publicity of the trial, Sheppard claimed that he was not given a fair and unbiased trial. • The Supreme Court agreed and handed down a decision that stated that Sheppard should receive a new trial.
The Shield • Shield Laws- • A "shield law" is legislation designed to provide a news reporter with the right to refuse to testify as to information and/or sources of information obtained during the newsgathering and dissemination process.
Gagged • Gag orders- • Gag orders are a form of prior restraint that prohibit parties, lawyers, prosecutors, witnesses, law enforcement officials, jurors and others from talking to the press. Frequently such orders are sought by one party in a case, although judges may issue gag orders on their own initiative.
The FCC • The FCC is responsible for: • Regulating interstate and foreign communications by: • Radio • Wire • Satellite • Cable • Radio and television tend to have greater regulation as compared to print media. • The internet is the least regulated type of media.