Freedom of Speech
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Freedom of Speech. Types of Speech. Pure Speech can be Calm Passionate Private Public Supreme Court has provided the strongest protection. Supreme Court has provided the strongest protection for pure speech. Types of Speech. Symbolic Speech (can be “Expressive Conduct”) Actions

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Types of speech
Types of Speech

Pure Speech can be





Supreme Court has provided the strongest protection.

Supreme Court has provided the strongest protection for pure speech.

Types of speech1
Types of Speech

Symbolic Speech (can be “Expressive Conduct”)

  • Actions

  • Symbols

  • May include words

    Limited if public safety is endangered.

Types of speech2
Types of Speech

  • Examples of symbolic speech

    • Flag burning

    • Draft Card burning

    • Black arm bands

When can government limit or regulate expressive conduct
When can government limit or regulate expressive conduct?

  • If the regulation is within the constitutional power of government.

  • If the government has a substantial interest unrelated tosuppression of speech.

  • If there are ample alternative ways to communicate.

Examples of acceptable limits on expressive speech
Examples of acceptable limits on expressive speech

  • Picketing in front of a private residence.

  • Approaching people without consent to speak or offering literature to them within 100 feet of a health care facility (i.e., abortion clinic)

    An individual’s Right to Privacy will triumph over your Freedom of Speech.

Freedom of speech1
Freedom of Speech

The Flag Burning Amendment

never passed. Flag burning is an

acceptable form of expression.

Regulating speech
Regulating Speech

Seditiousspeech is prohibited.

  • Urging resistance to lawful authority

  • Advocating overthrow of the government

Rebel NOW!

Regulating speech1
Regulating Speech

“Clear and Present Danger” Doctrine

(in time of war, things may be different)

“When a nation is at war many things that might be said in time of peace … will not be endured …”

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1919)


Regulating speech2
Regulating Speech

“Bad Tendency” Doctrine

Example: Yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater.


Regulating speech3
Regulating Speech

“Preferred Position” Doctrine

(1st Amendment freedoms are more fundamental than other freedoms)

The government must show that

it is absolutely necessary to limit

Freedom of Speech.


Primacy of Position

Regulating speech4
Regulating Speech

Sedition Laws

Dennis v. United States(1951)

Court upheld conviction of 11 communist party leaders who advocated revolution.

Middle of McCarthy's

"Red Scare"

Regulating speech5
Regulating Speech

Sedition Laws

Yates v. United States(1957)

Court overturned convictions of several communist party leaders.

Expressing an opinion that the government should be overthrown is different from urging people to take action.

"Red Scare"

was over

Regulating speech6
Regulating Speech

Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969)

Court ruled in favor of a Ku Klux Klan leader.

While he advocated use of force in general, he did not urge “immediate and concrete acts of violence” against a specific target.

Other forms of unprotected speech
Other Forms of Unprotected Speech

Defamatory Speech

False speech that damages a person’s good name, character, or reputation.

Slander – Spoken

Libel – Written

Other forms of unprotected speech1
Other Forms of Unprotected Speech

For slander and libel the key is:

  • Was the statement made with the

    knowledge that it was false?


    2. Was the statement made with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not? (A newspaper must verify its sources.)

Other forms of unprotected speech2
Other Forms of Unprotected Speech

NOTE: For public officials or public figures(pastors, athletes, entertainers, etc.) the rules can be very different.

These kinds of people thrive

on public notice or notoriety.

Other forms of unprotected speech3
Other Forms of Unprotected Speech

Fighting Words

Offensive, derisive, annoying, etc.

Words that “by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.”

Student speech is limited
Student Speech is Limited

Know this case!

Tinker v. Des Moines School District (1969)

Students do not give up

their rights to free speech

while in school. (Students won.)


Students were wearing black arm bands in opposition to Vietnam War.

Mary Beth and John Tinker

(sister 13, brother 15)

Student speech is limited1
Student Speech is Limited

Know this case!

Bethel School District v. Fraser(1986)

School districts may suspend students for lewd or indecent speech at school events, even though the same speech would be protected outside the school.

School officials can decide what

manner of speech is appropriate.

At a school assembly / election, student gave a sexually suggestive campaign speech.

Student speech is limited2
Student Speech is Limited

Know this case!

The Supreme Court says that schools have broad authority to regulate student speech in school-sponsored newspapers, theatrical productions, and other activities. These things are “part of the curriculum,” not an individual’s personal expression of thought.

Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1988)

Principal stopped publication of

a student newspaper with an article

about abortion.

Student speech is limited3
Student Speech is Limited

Therefore, the school could legally prohibit:

  • Productions of “Hair” or “Equus” (plays with nudity) or “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf” (foul language) or “Rent” (gay characters and drug use).

  • School newspaper articles about abortion, politics, or religion (would probably offend somebody).

  • Student speeches or acts with inappropriate language or topics (comedy club type routines).

    The school newspaper, plays, talent shows, etc. are intended to train students to work in those areas (i.e., “part of the curriculum”).


Instead of Political Articles for next week - - -

Write an analysis of the Supreme Court’s positions on student’s speech rights. Quote from Tinker, Kuhlmeier, & Fraser but don’t just copy-&-paste. (Find Fraser’s speech, etc.)

Must be: Typed, single spaced, 12 point font

Minimum of 2 full pages

Cite your sources on a separate page at the end.

Due Date: Tuesday, October 13 (after 4 day break)

Weight: One test grade