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Capstone Case – Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire

Appellant was convicted in the municipal court of Rochester, New Hampshire, for violation of Chapter 378, Section 2, of the Public Laws of New Hampshire: “No person shall address any offensive, derisive or annoying word to any other person who is lawfully in any street or other public place, nor call him by any offensive or derisive name, nor make any noise or exclamation in his presence and hearing with intent to deride, offend or annoy him, or to prevent him from pursuing his lawful business or occupation.” The charge was based on the claim that Chaplinsky stated in a public place, “You are a God damned racketeer” and “a damned Fascist and the whole government of Rochester are Fascists or agents of Fascists.”

  • Do you think that the language used by Chaplinsky should be subject to governmental regulation? Why or why not?
  • Do you believe that all manner of speech should be protected by the First Amendment? If not, what limits would you put on such protections?
  • What are “fighting words”? Why aren’t they protected by the First Amendment?

2. Read the two cases from your textbook—Lewis v. New Orleans, 415 U. S. 130 (1974) and Bousquet v. Arkansas, 548 S. W. 2d 125 (1977)—involving offensive language directed at a police officer. Should these types of disorderly conduct or fighting words cases be treated differently because the target of the language is a public official? What factors are relevant to your judgment?

3.Capstone Case: United States v. Williams

The United States Code criminalizes, in certain specified circumstances, the pandering or solicitation of child pornography. This case presents the question whether that statute is overbroad under the First Amendment or impermissibly vague under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

  • Should speech in the form of an offer to engage in a criminal act (exchange child pornography) be sufficient to establish criminal liability?
  • Does your answer to question 1 change if there is no apparent ability to actually exchange child pornography?

4.Read the opinions in United States v. Whorley, 550 F. 3d 326 (4th Cir. 2008) and United States v. Kilbride, 534 F. 3d 1240 (9th Cir. 2009). Then consider these two rulings in light of the Supreme Court’s 2003 opinion in Lawrence v. Texas. Are obscenity laws still constitutional in light of the Court’s opinion in Lawrence?

Each question must have a minimum of 400 words. must have references that are within the past 7 years. Must be in APA format

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School: Rice University



Case Law Questions
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Case law questions

1. Chaplinsky Case- Chaplinsky V. New Hampshire
Walter Chaplinsky, a Jehovah Witness follower had put a pulpit in the streets of Rochester.
His sermon was insulting other religions calling them ‘racket'. A large crowd began to gather
blocking the road and causing a scene. When the police arrived, Chaplinsky was taken to the
police headquarters, on seeing the town marshal, he shouted attacking him stating, ‘You are a
God-damned racketeer’. The Town marshal had previously warned him to avoid causing
commotion and during his hearing. He admitted to have used the words and was charged under
the New Hampshire law (Chapter. 378, para 2 of the New Hampshire public laws) which stated
that it was not in accordance with the law to address any offensive, teasing and annoying words
to someone who is legally undertaking his/her a duty or minding his own business. He appealed
on claims that the law was indefinite and violated on his First amendment and fourteenth
amendment right towards free speech in the United States.
a. Do you think that the language used by Chaplinsky should be subject to
governmental regulation? Why or Why not?
Yes. I feel that the court proceedings used needs to be subjected to governmental regulation.
Why? The First Amendment in the United States Constitution does not protect the right of
speech if the speech itself inflict injury or may incite emotions that may result to breach of peace.
The Supreme Court also emphases on the right of speech by giving a definition that fighting
words cannot be termed as freedoms of expression.



b. Do you believe that the First Amendment should protect all manner of speech? If
not, what limits would you put on such protections?
No. I don’t agree that the First Amendment should protect all forms of speech. The limitation I
would put is to ensure that any utterances that inflict emotions should not be protected. All forms
of threats should be discouraged since threatening acts may result in violence and more so
pronouncements that are made to demine a person on the basis of race...

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Good stuff. Would use again.

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