The People vs. Larry Flynt Essays

1354 Words Jun 25th, 2014 6 Pages
Freedom of expression has always been a heated and heavily debated topic throughout our society, more so in recent times due to the increasing amount of freedoms that we gain. However, it is only natural that free speech be something of extreme amounts of conflict since this right is expressed in the very first amendment of the Constitution. But, how loosely should such an important document within our history be interpreted? This has been a question for years, and it is obvious that this particular amendment presents itself through our day-to-day activities. The real issue with freedom of speech is that, even though it is presented to us, there are obviously people who would abuse it to invoke emotional distress, or even to invoke acts of …show more content…
In the case of Roth vs. United States, a very opinionated and biased stance is taken to that of the banning and punishment of obscenities, such as Hustler and the consequential unjust muzzling of Larry Flynt by the United States government. In the Roth case, the constitutionality of mailing material that is “obscene, lewd, lascivious, or filthy…or other publication of an indecent character” is argued, which lead to Roth’s conviction. Within the case, it is presented that obscenity is not protected under the First Amendment, concerning freedom of speech or press, nor under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Although it does not necessarily state that obscenities are protected, what exactly defines “obscenity,” and who is justified in deciding what is obscene? Yes, the amendments may not specifically say that obscenities are protected, but they definitely do not oppose it. Regardless of the decisions made in the past, times have changed since the amendments were first created, and final decisions and debates regarding the amendments should take that into account. People argue that the First Amendment was not meant to protect everything, but if you were not there listening to the debates and arguments being made, who are you to judge and decide what the Founding Fathers truly meant? The court case states, “The protection given speech and press was fashioned to assure unfettered interchange of

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