Free Speech Is Important For Greater Good Of The Country Essays

Free Speech Is Important For Greater Good Of The Country Essays

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Supreme Court decisions have upheld the idea that free speech is important and protected, but that it sometimes must be restricted. Schenk v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919), is an important example of restricting free speech for the greater good of the country. During World War 1, Charles Schenk distributed Socialist Party of America propaganda to potential military draftees, urging them to oppose the draft, since he felt it constituted a violation of the Thirteenth Amendment against involuntary servitude. The court ruled against him, since his efforts created a situation that could undermine the safety of the country in a time of war. In the unanimous opinion, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. wrote that “when a nation is at war many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight, and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right.” He went on to say that (emphasis added) “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shout...

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