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Consti Cases - Freedom of Expression - 1 to 10

Consti Cases - Freedom of Expression - 1 to 10

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Published by Hanna Mapandi
Incomplete, without case # 9
Incomplete, without case # 9

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Published by: Hanna Mapandi on Feb 16, 2010
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1ABRAMS VS US, 250 US 610 Facts of the Case:
 The defendants were convicted on the basis of two leaflets they printed and threw from windowsof a building. One leaflet signed "revolutionists" denounced the sending of American troops toRussia. The second leaflet, written in Yiddish, denounced the war and US efforts to impede theRussian Revolution. The defendants were charged and convicted for inciting resistance to thewar effort and for urging curtailment of production of essential war material. They weresentenced to 20 years in prison.
Do the amendments to the Espionage Act or the application of those amendments in this caseviolate the free speech clause of the First Amendment?
No and no. The act's amendments are constitutional and the defendants' convictions areaffirmed. In Clarke's majority opinion, the leaflets are an appeal to violent revolution, a call for ageneral strike, and an attempt to curtail production of munitions. The leaflets had a tendency toencourage war resistance and to curtail war production. Holmes and Brandeis dissented onnarrow ground: the necessary intent had not been shown. These views were to become a classiclibertarian pronouncement.
2NEAR VS MINNESOTA, 283 US 697 Facts of the Case:
 Jay Near published a scandal sheet in Minneapolis, in which he attacked local officials, chargingthat they were implicated with gangsters. Minnesota officials obtained an injunction to preventNear from publishing his newspaper under a state law that allowed such action againstperiodicals. The law provided that any person "engaged in the business" of regularly publishingor circulating an "obscene, lewd, and lascivious" or a "malicious, scandalous and defamatory"newspaper or periodical was guilty of a nuisance, and could be enjoined (stopped) from furthercommitting or maintaining the nuisance.
Does the Minnesota "gag law" violate the free press provision of the First Amendment?
 The Supreme Court held that the statute authorizing the injunction was unconstitutional asapplied. History had shown that the protection against previous restraints was at the heart of theFirst Amendment. The Court held that the statutory scheme constituted a prior restraint andhence was invalid under the First Amendment. Thus the Court established as a constitutionalprinciple the doctrine that, with some narrow exceptions, the government could not censor orotherwise prohibit a publication in advance, even though the communication might bepunishable after publication in a criminal or other proceeding.
5NY TIMES VS US, 403 US 713 Facts:
In what became known as the "Pentagon Papers Case," the Nixon Administration attempted toprevent the New York Times and Washington Post from publishing materials belonging to aclassified Defense Department study regarding the history of United States activities in Vietnam. The President argued that prior restraint was necessary to protect national security. This casewas decided together with United States v. Washington Post Co.
Did the Nixon administration's efforts to prevent the publication of what it termed "classifiedinformation" violate the First Amendment?
 Yes. In its per curiam opinion the Court held that the government did not overcome the "heavypresumption against" prior restraint of the press in this case. Justices Black and Douglas arguedthat the vague word "security" should not be used "to abrogate the fundamental law embodiedin the First Amendment." Justice Brennan reasoned that since publication would not cause aninevitable, direct, and immediate event imperiling the safety of American forces, prior restraintwas unjustified.
New York state law authorized the legal counsel for a municipality to seek an injunction againstand the destruction of material deemed by the courts to be obscene. Peter Campbell Brown,Corporation Counsel for the City of New York, sought such an injunction against severalbookstores. The process of review that followed was a civil, rather than criminal procedure, andthe courts ultimately granted the injunction and sought to destroy the obscene material.
Did the civil procedure as laid out by New York statute violate the booksellers' rights under theDue Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by not allowing for a criminal trial beforeimposing an injunction and destroying the obscene material?
No. In a 5–4 opinion authored by Justice Felix Frankfurter, the Court concluded that the civilprocedure complied with the requirements of due process. Justice Frankfurter noted that theprocedural safeguards were not significantly different from many state criminal misdemeanorprocedures, nor were the penalties any more severe. The opinion also reaffirmed the existingnotion that the constitutional protection of speech does not extend to obscene material.
Petitioner has a television program entitled "Ang Iglesia ni Cristo" aired on Channel 2 everySaturday and on Channel 13 every Sunday. The program presents and propagates petitioner'sreligious beliefs, doctrines and practices often times in comparative studies with other religions.Petitioner submitted to the respondent Board of Review for Moving Pictures and Television theVTR tapes of its TV program Series Nos. 116, 119, 121 and 128. The Board classified the seriesas "X" or not for public viewing on the ground that they "offend and constitute an attack againstotherreligions which is expressly prohibited by law." On November 28, 1992, it appealed to theOffice of the President the classification of its TV Series No. 128 which allowed it through a letterof former Executive Secretary Edelmiro A. Amante, Sr., addressed for Henrietta S. Mendezreversing the decision of the respondent Board. According to the letter the episode in isprotected by the constitutional guarantee of free speech and expression and no indication thatthe episode poses any clear and present danger. Petitioner also filed Civil Case. Petitioneralleged that the respondent Board acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion inrequiring petitioner to submit the VTR tapes of itsTV program and in x-rating them. It cited its TVProgram Series Nos. 115, 119, 121 and 128. In their Answer, respondent Board invoked its powerunder PD No. 19861 in relation to Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code. The Iglesia ni Cristoinsists on the literal translation of the bible and says that our (Catholic) veneration of the VirginMary is not to be condoned because nowhere it is found in the bible. The board contended that itoutrages Catholic and Protestant's beliefs. RTC ruled in favor of petitioners. CA however reversedit hence this petition.
 WON the "ang iglesia ni cristo" program is not constitutionally protected as a form of religiousexercise and expression.
Yes. Any act that restrains speech is accompanied with presumption of invalidity. It is theburden of the respondent Board to overthrow this presumption. If it fails to discharge thisburden, its act of censorship will be struck down. This is true in this case. So-called "attacks" aremere criticisms of some of the deeply held dogmas and tenets of otherreligions . RTC’s rulingclearly suppresses petitioner's freedom of speech and interferes with its right to free exercise of religion. “attack” is different from “offend” any race or religion. The respondent Board maydisagree with the criticisms of otherreligions by petitioner but that gives it no excuse to interdictsuch criticisms, however, unclean they may be. Under our constitutional scheme, it is not thetask of the State to favor any religion by protecting it against an attack by anotherreligion.Religious dogmas and beliefs are often at war and to preserve peace among theirfollowers, especially the fanatics, the establishment clause of freedom of religion prohibits theState from leaning towards any religion. Respondent board cannot censor the speech of petitioner Iglesia ni Cristo simply because it attacks otherreligions, even if said religion happensto be the most numerous church in our country. The basis of freedom of religion is freedom of thought and it is best served by encouraging the marketplace of dueling ideas. It is only where itis unavoidably necessary to prevent an immediate and grave danger to the security and welfareof the community that infringement of religious freedom may be justified, and only to the

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