Schenck v. United States
In Schenck v. United States, this case takes place around World War I in 1917. A man named Charles Schenck was against the war as well as the draft because it violated people’s 13th constitutional right to prohibit involuntary servitude. Around the time of world war I, Congress passed the Espionage Act of 1917, which basically according to American bar. Org states that the government reserves the right to outlaw interference with military operations and support of enemies of the United States. Schenck passed out leaflets as a way to persuade men to resist the draft and to challenge the government to overturn the draft in a peaceful manner. Schenck was later arrested and charged for violating the Espionage Act, he then sued the government because he believed that the government violated his first amendment right of freedom of speech. The case then went to the supreme court make the final decision to determine whether or not the government overstepped their authority.
In a unanimous decision the supreme court ruled 9-0 in favor of the United States. Justice Oliver Wendell presented the court’s opinion of the case, basically stated that the court decided that the Espionage Act did not violate his first amendment right. At a time when the Great War was taking place, the supreme court also stated that Schenck did indeed violate the Espionage Act because he intended to undermine the draft which means he endanger military action. Although Schenck is entitled to his opinion on the Great War, there are some limits to freedom of speech according to my textbook “we the people” which states that although individuals are “free to say almost anything except that which is obscene, slanders another person, or has a high probability of inciting others to take imminent lawless action.
I personally agree with the Supreme Court’s decision because due to the fact although I don’t like when the United States starts or enters wars, I believe that sometimes they are necessary to prevent future threats that can cause harm to the American people. This is a case that presents an example of the government prioritizes federal power over freedom of speech, according to Khan academy any kind of speech that presents “clear and present danger”quoted by Justice Holmes is not covered under free speech.