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First Amendment
Elon University School of Law
Gaylord, Scott W.

1.      TIMES OF WAR:
2.      Schneck v. US
a.       Justice Holmes – “The most stringent protection of free speech wouldn’t protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater and causing a panic.”
b.      Big point – speech that can cause harm is not protected
                                                   i.      Intent Element – to cause harm through false statements or to cause harm generally
                                                 ii.      The Marketplace is not intended to funnel/float false information
                                               iii.      High Deference to the government
c.       Clear and Present Danger Test – if the speech is “directed at the types of evils congress is to prevent”
                                                   i.      Where an Act’s “tendency and the intent w which it is done are the same, we perceive no ground for saying that success alone warrants making the act a crime.”
                                                 ii.      Intent + Likelihood = unconstitutionally protected speech
3.      Abrams v. US
a.       Abrams was involved in printing flyers regarding socialism in Russia
                                                   i.      Abrams was charged w/ violating the espionage act – precluding anyone urging, inciting and advocating curtailment of things necessary to the production of war materials.
b.     Rule – Intent + Knowledge + Likelihood = incitement
                                                   i.      Majority – “Men must be held to have intended, and to be accountable for, the effects which their acts were likely to produce.”
1.      Meaning – if there was “knowledge that” or “knew or should have known” = Knowledge + Likelihood = Intent
                                                 ii.      There is a speculative nature of intent and likelihood – it is left to the jury, thus is speculative
4.      Brandenburg v. Ohio
a.       General Rule: Incitement to violence or to violate the law is Unprotected where it is:
                                                   i.      Imminent (sometime relatively close in time [hours or days]) +
                                                 ii.      Likelihood +
                                               iii.      Intent (looks like specific)
b.     Intent + Imminence + Likelihood = Incitement
c.       Application to facts – Brandenburg was advocating a teaching of KKK values – so the statute was overbroad and it covered too much speech.
                                                   i.      The test is never actually applied
5.      Speech directed at Soliciting Crime – Williams
a.       The Court held that there is NO Social Value in Soliciting a Crime
b.      A “proposal to engage in illegal activity” is unprotected solicitation, especially when focused on a particular piece of contraband.
                                                   i.      The particularility of the piece of contraband indicates imminence.
c.       There is no basis for forbidding the gov’t from punishing fraudulent offers to provide illegal products… if anything such statements are doubly excluded from the 1st Amendment.
Defamation/False Statements
1.      General Rules:
a.       Public Figure + Public Concern (Sullivan)
                                                               i.      Liability: Actual Malice
                                                             ii.      Damages: Actual Malice
                                                           iii.      Burden: Pl proves actual malice by clear and convincing and falsity by at least preponderance
b.      Private Figure + Public Concern (Gertz)
                                                               i.      Liability: Negligence
                                                             ii.      Damages: Actual Malice
                                                           iii.      Burden: Pl proves falsity and negligence by preponderance
c.       Private Figure + Private Concern (Dun & Bradstreet)
1.      Distinction between “public and private concern” = look at content, form and context of speech
                                                             ii.      Liability: Negligence or strict liability?
                                                           iii.      Damages: No actual malice
                                                           iv.      Burden: Unclear
Argument Outline:
1.      Is there a statement of fact or only of opinion?
a.       If opinion – it ends bc opinions are protected
b.      If statement of fact – go on
                                                                 i.      Provably false factual connotation is sufficient (i.e. “dave deserves to die in a death penalty case”)
2.      Is the pl a public or private figure (now go to flow chart)
a.       Public figure:
                                                                 i.      General public figure (Obama)
                                                               ii.      Limited Public Figure (fame and notoriety)
                                                             iii.      Involuntary Public Figures (very rare)
                                                             iv.      Government officials but not low level gov’t employees
b.      “assumed an influential role in ordered society”
c.       “achieved pervasive fame or notoriety” – general public figures
                                                                 i.      The mark

the prurient interest,” and
a.       Prurient Interest – “shameful or morbid interest in sex”
b.      Community standards govern
                                                             ii.      Patently Offensive –
1.      “the work depicts or describes a) in a patently offensive way (under (b) contemporary community standards – Smith v. US, c) sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law” and
a.       State law as “written or construed” the courts can give a limiting instruction or a clarifying instruction and that’s ok.
                                                                                                                                       i.      “Patently offensive representations or descriptions of ultimate sexual acts, normal or perverted, actual or simulated”
                                                                                                                                     ii.      “Patently offensive representations or descriptions of masturbation, excretory functions, and lewd exhibition of the genitalia.”
                                                           iii.      Serious Value –
1.      “The work a) taken as a whole, b) lacks serious c) literary, artistic, political or scientific value.”
                                                                                                                                       i.      Pretty important prong
b.      Whether a “reasonable person would find (serious) value in the material.” Not whether “an ordinary member of any given community would.”
c.       Objective, national standard.
c.       Mens Rea Requirement:
                                                               i.      Def can be punished only if he knows or has reason to know the contents of the material
d.      Mistake of law is no defense
                                                               i.      What actions can gov’t take to regulate obscenity?
1.      Prohibit the sale, distribution, transportation and exhibition of obscene materials
2.      Gov’t may not punish the private possession of obscene material in one’s home.
3.      Gov’t can prohibit people from selling to customers whom they know to be or perhaps would know to be minors