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12.3b Public Speech

There are recognized exceptions to the freedom of speech rule. These include the lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous and the insulting or "fighting words", which may inflict injury or may excite an immediate breach of peace. This concept was put into practice in the case of Chaplinsky versus New Hampshire, when Chaplinsky was charged with calling the complainant "a damned Fascist!" The court sustained his conviction for violating a statute that prohibited one from calling others derisive or offensive names on public streets or places.


12.3c Symbolic Speech

At certain times, actions may be used instead of words, as a form of expression. Thus the American flag as well as draft cards were burnt, during the Vietnam War. These actions express political ideas, and hence have received the support of the Supreme Court. Thus in the case of United States Versus Eichman in 1990, the Flag Protection Act of 1989 was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Such expressions are accepted as a part of the political protest.

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Index

12.0 Introduction
12.1 Perspective on Civil Liberties
12.2 The First Amendment:Freedom of Religion
12.3 The First Amendment:Freedom of Speech
12.4 The First Amendment:Freedom of Press
12.5 The Rights of Defendants
12.6 Implied Rights

Chapter 13