Symbolic%20Speech - SymbolicSpeech

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Symbolic Speech We have already learned from the religious sections that the Court has decided that  some symbolic expression, such as saluting or not saluting the American Flag, is a  protected form of speech. But drawing the line between what is and is not protected has been extremely  difficult for the Court. The question is generally “do actions count as speech, and if they do, are they  protected forms of speech?” US v. O’Brien (1968):    In 1966, David O’Brien and there other antiwar activists  burned their draft cards on the steps of a South Boston courthouse. These actions violated the Selective Service Act, which made it illegal to destroy or  mutilate a draft card. After a federal court ruled that O’Brien’s expressive conduct was constitutionally  protected, the US asked the SC to hear the case. Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall argued that O’Brien’s actions thwarted a  valid business of government, to draft men into the armed forces, because his  purpose was “to influence others to adopt his anti-war beliefs.”
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O’Brien’s   attorney   argued   that   his   actions   were   nothing   more   than   speech  expressed   symbolically   in   action,   and   therefore,   was   protected   by   the   First  Amendment. The SC rejected the notion that conduct used to express and idea merits First  Amendment protection. He   wrote   that   whenever   speech   and   non-speech   elements   are   combined,   a 
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This note was uploaded on 07/24/2010 for the course POLS POLS 1101 taught by Professor Albert during the Summer '10 term at Augusta University.

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Symbolic%20Speech - SymbolicSpeech

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