Symbolic Speech And Its Impact

1454 Words Nov 9th, 2015 6 Pages
Kayla Rivera
POS 2041
Professor Lightfoot
15 November 2015
O’Brien v. United States: Symbolic Speech and Its Impact
Symbolic speech is a type of speech used to express one’s ideas. The notion of symbolic speech is protected in the United States constitution which evidently says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press...” (U. S. Constitution). The freedom of speech represents one of the most vital amendments in the United States Constitution and carries its involvement regularly. The several varieties of speech that is protected in the Constitution affects each individual and one’s privileges, but this first amendment right is often defined by the courts with individual’s failure to properly use it. These speeches that the United States Constitution does not protect are often faced in court and dismissed. People believe in these speeches as being protected by the Constitution and continuously breach it, unknowingly violating the law. This is a prime example in the court case United States v. O’Brien. David Paul O’Brien, who was the defendant, was sentenced for burning his registration certificate, or draft card, along with those who shadowed his lead. Various individuals saw this as symbolic speech and used it to impact others in their antiwar views at this time during the Vietnam War era. This burning of the draft card triggered O’Brien to be charged…

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