[eDebate] First Amendment isn't too broad?

Jim Hanson hansonjb
Mon May 29 11:50:24 CDT 2006

just a quick comment.

in looking at case precedents, remember that they evolve as courts adjust the precedent to new situations and to the court's ideological preferences.

chaplinsky, for example, included two prongs of fighting words that could be restricted--words that cause an "immediate breach of the peace" and words that "inflict injury."

since then, "immediate breach of peace" has been changed to "imminent lawlessness or violence" and "inflict injury" has appeared, disappeared, and reappeared in various court decisions (its honestly hard to tell whether that part of chaplinsky remains as good law).

the analysis that chaplinsky used was defacto overturned in the gooding and lewis decisions in the early 1970s--the ordinance that the court upheld in chaplinsky would have been ruled unconstitutionally overbroad.

in a series of cases, chaplinsky has been further narrowed to require a face to face / directed at an individual exchange and, for the most part, threats/epithets toward police officers can't be restricted as fighting words.

so, a resolution saying "overturn chaplinsky" is kind of a non-sequitur; you'd really need to say "overturn the fighting words doctrine."

jim :)
hansonjb at whitman.edu
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: J T 
  To: Ryan Galloway ; edebate at ndtceda.com 
  Sent: Monday, May 29, 2006 9:31 AM
  Subject: Re: [eDebate] First Amendment isn't too broad?

  Here's another good subject divided site that lists cases:

  is there a possible area where there is not a hundred cases?  
  ...even if we limited it to libel & defamation, the 1st Amendment Center identifies the follow as the major & relevant cases (but actually there are a few more):

  Libel & defamation
  New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964)
  Gertz v. Welch, 418 U.S. 323 (1974)
  Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts, 388 U.S. 130 (1967) (consolidated with Associated Press v. Walker)
  Milkovich v. Lorain Journal Co., 497 U.S. 1 (1990)
  Rosenblatt v. Baer, 338 U.S. 75 (1966)
  Rosenbloom v. Metromedia, 403 U.S. 29 (1971)
  Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568 (1942)
  So a possibility of seven+ cases...then the multiple ways people can run the affs...and this is just a part of libel cases...so why isn't all this inevitable?...or it is not as bad as people think if you believe my args above...

  how many of the 1st Amend. cases you sent overturn each other?  After looking at the more recent cases (since 2000), it seems like the majority deal with freedom of expression issues...I think this is the area where there is the most diversity of social issues to be discussed (no, this does not mean each of these will be cases)...

  Ryan Galloway <rwlcgalloway at gmail.com> wrote:
    Of course, you can't just randomly list off areas...you need terms of
    art like "law enforcement" "1st amendment protections" "health
    law"...sorry but "1st amendment" is far from broad!

    >I'm hoping the latter is just irony online that I missed...The scope
    of first amendment law affects everything from panhandling legislation
    to the constitutionality of tax law to the scope of congressional
    investigations into the president.



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