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Schenck V United States Case Study

Decent Essays
Schenck v United States (1919)

Facts:
• During WWI Schenck mailed circulars to the people drafted. The circulars encourage the draftees that war is wrong and that they should not go.
• Schenck was charged for his obstruction of recruitment due to the Conspiracy Act. He sued, saying that his First Amendment free speech was violated.
Issue:
“Are Schenck's actions (words, expression) protected by the free speech clause of the First Amendment?”
Decision of the court:
The Court ruled (9-0) and upheld Schenck’s conviction stating that the Espionage Act limited people’s speech especially during war time.
Reasoning:
Justice Holmes delivered the majority opinion declaring that a person’s speech can be limited if that speech present clear danger.
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• The principal learned about this plan and stated that anyone caught wearing an armband would receive disciplinary suspension.
• Mary Beth Tinker and John Tinker decided to wear the arm band disregarding the principal’s warning.
• The principal suspended the students until the end of the protest. The Tinker’s sued the School District for violating their freedom of expression right.
Issue: “Does a prohibition against the wearing of armbands in public school, as a form of symbolic protest, violate the students' freedom of speech protections guaranteed by the First Amendment?”
Decision of the Court: The court ruled (7-2) in favor of the students, stating that the armbands were a symbolic representation of speech and that the students do not lose their Constitutional rights in
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The court stated the arm bands were a sign of symbolic speech and that students have the right of exercising this kind of expression in schools. They also stated that in order to suppress symbolic speeches, school officials must have a valid reason such as the disturbance of that symbolic speech to the education of others. Since the black arm band was used to express the feelings of the students, the school was incorrect for the suspension of those students who participated.
Significance: The case Tinker v Des Moines broadens the interpretation of student’s First Amendment rights. The students do not shed their First Amendment right when they enter school grounds. Thus extending their right of free speech, press, etc. in their school. They have the ability to freely speak about issues in their schools, etc. However, their rights are still limited in a way their speech may not disturb the learning of
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