The Importance Of The Constitutional Protection Of Free Speech

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The United States has always been a champion for freedom. Individual freedom and expression is the very foundation upon which this nation was founded. The First Amendment and freedom of speech is one of the American people’s most precious freedoms. However the line between the protection of free speech and that of unlawful actions are often blurred. Are speeches that incite lawlessness and chaos protected under the First Amendment? When does an act that is potentially harmful to good order and discipline no longer fall under the constitutional protection of free speech? Texas v. Johnson was a case in which state law was argued to be in violation of an individual’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech. This case was important because it clarified the definition of speech under the law. This determined whether or not symbolic speech and actions were protected by the First Amendment or not. Within this paper the arguments from both sides of the case will be presented and the issues will be clarified.…show more content…
Mr. Johnson was arrested for violating Texas law in desecrating a venerated object. The case went to court in the state of Texas and Johnson was convicted. “The only criminal offense with which he was charged was the desecration of a venerated object in violation of Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 42.09(a) (3) (1989). [n1] After a trial, he was convicted, sentenced to one year in prison, and fined $2,000”. Johnson then appealed to the Supreme Court arguing that his actions were protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution as free speech. The Supreme Court agreed to hear this case and did so March 21,

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