Facts: Clarence Brandenburg, a leader of an Ohio affiliate of the Ku Klux Klan, asked a reported to attend a KKK rally and cover the event. The reporter attended with a camera crew and filmed the rally that took place. Twelve white hooded figures, including that of Brandenburg’s, were seen with a wooden cross that was burned, and Brandenburg the said, “We’re not an revengent organization, but if our President, our Congress, and our Supreme Court, continues to suppress the white, Caucasian race, it’s possible that there might have to be some reveangance taken. He then also made some remarks regarding the African and the Jews. Clarence Brandenburg was arrested by the Ohio authorities and was convicted, fined $1000 and sentenced to one to 10 years in prison for violating the Ohio Criminal Syndicalism Law. Brandenburg appeals got rejected to both Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Ohio. Brandenburg then appealed to the Supreme Court. Issue: Does the Ohio Criminal Syndicalism Statute violate the constitutional right to free speech? Holding: 8-0. Yes, the Ohio Criminal Syndicalism Law violated the rights of Clarence Brandenburg guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Reasoning:
1.The Supreme Court stated that the First and Fourteenth Amendments does not permit the State to forbid any advocating of the use of force except “where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action”. 2.The Ohio Criminal Syndicalism Statute “purports to punish mere advocacy and to forbid, on pain of criminal punishment, assembly with others merely to advocate the described type of action”.