Free Speech: Terminiello v. Chicago, 337 U.S. 1 (1949)

Accordingly, a function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions and have profound unsettling effects as it presses for acceptance of an idea. That is why freedom of speech, though not absolute, Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, supra, pp. 315 U. S. 571-572, is nevertheless protected against censorship or punishment, unless shown likely to produce a clear and present danger of a serious substantive evil that rises far above public inconvenience, annoyance, or unrest.

Terminiello v. Chicago, 337 U.S. 1 (1949) (Justia, Findlaw)

HT, Scootergate, FIRE, January 13, 2011

The Constitution of the United States: Amendment 1

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