07-10-22, Case Notes

07-10-22, Case Notes - Schenck v United States(388 Facts...

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Schenck v. United States (388) Facts: Schenck was indicted and convicted for violating provisions of the Espionage Act of 1917. As general secretary of the Socialist Party, he was charged with conspiring to cause and attempting to cause insubordination in the military and naval forces of the United States. At the time, the US was in WWI, and Schenck printed and mailed an anti-war circular to fifteen thousand men eligible for the draft. The mailing alleged that conscription was a violation of the Thirteenth Amendment and urged draftees to “assert” their rights. Question: speech against the draft protected by the first amendment? Holding: No, not in wartime. Judgment affirmed. Rationale: Though in many places and in ordinary times the defendants in saying all that was said in the circular would have been within their constitutional rights, the character of every act depends on the circumstances in which it is done. 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. Significance: determined that speech allowed in certain situations could also be prohibited in others (e.g. anti-draft speech in times of peace/war). Also mentioned the “fire” example, in which falsely shouting fire in a public place would be condemned. Dennis v. United States
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This note was uploaded on 05/02/2008 for the course POLT 30300 taught by Professor Moon during the Fall '07 term at Ithaca College.

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07-10-22, Case Notes - Schenck v United States(388 Facts...

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