Schenck v. US

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  • We're going to war with Germany, we need to prevent the German immigrants in the country from doing the bad things.
  • Espionage Act of 1917: If you're going to convey information that’s going to interfere with the armed forces of the United States, or if you support the enemy openly, you will get 30 years in prison of be sentenced to death.
  • Hi, my name is Charles Schenck. I think the draft is unconstitutional and would like to advise you to not join it, thank you.
  • Draft No
  • You can't say that!
  • Congress, please. Don't abridge the First Amendment, the Espionage act does that for you. Let me free.
  • Sorry, Charles. Civil liberties are NOT absolute, especially during wartime. We cannot let you go. Your actions are like yelling "Fire!" in a movie theater; the theater being the US and your yell putting everyone in it in danger.
  • Oliver W. Holmes
  • Clear and Present Danger Doctrine: If your freedom of speech crosses the line into clear and present danger, that's where it stops being freedom of speech.
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