Cohen v California

Cohen v California - Cohen v. California 1970 I. Facts a. A...

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Cohen v. California 1970 I. Facts a. A 19-year-old department store worker expressed his opposition to the Vietnam War by wearing a jacket emblazoned with "FUCK THE DRAFT. STOP THE WAR" The young man, Paul Cohen, was charged under a California statute that prohibits "maliciously and willfully disturb[ing] the peace and quiet of any neighborhood or person [by] offensive conduct." Cohen was found guilty and sentenced to 30 days in jail. b. II. Legal Questions presented a. Did California's statute, prohibiting the display of offensive messages such as "Fuck the Draft," violate freedom of expression as protected by the First Amendment? b. III. Answers a. Yes. In an opinion by Justice John Marshall Harlan, the Court reasoned that the expletive, while provocative, was not directed toward anyone; besides, there was no evidence that people in substantial numbers would be provoked into some kind of physical action by the words on his jacket. Harlan recognized that "one man's vulgarity is another's lyric." In doing
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This note was uploaded on 05/03/2010 for the course PLS 460 taught by Professor Lermack during the Spring '10 term at Bradley.

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Cohen v California - Cohen v. California 1970 I. Facts a. A...

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