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Schenck v. United States (1919)

Definition - What does Schenck v. United States (1919) mean?

The Supreme Court case of Schenck v. United States determined the limits of free speech that were allowable under the Constitution.

In this case, the defendants were distributing fliers to men of draft age, which had the effect of asking them to break the draft law. The Supreme Court held that the defendants did not have a right to free speech when it was used for the purpose of inciting others to break a law.

Justipedia explains Schenck v. United States (1919)

The determination of there being a clear and present danger in the words that the defendants used was noted as the reason why their words should be considered illegal and not covered under the First Amendment to the Constitution. It determined that only free speech that is not made for the purpose of creating a clear and present danger is allowable, which defined many future protests.

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