Schenck v. United States 1919

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Political Science Name: rsonam Donohue
Briefs #2
Tuesday, March 5
Schenck v. United States 1919 Criminal Case
Federal
Petitioner: Schenck
Respondent: United States
Events: During World War I in 1917, Congress had passed a law called the Espionage Act which states that during wartime obstructing the draft and trying to make soldiers disloyal or disobedient were crimes. Schenck going against the war, mailed thousands of pamphlets to men who had been drafted into the armed force saying that the government had no right to send American citizens to other countries to kill people. Therefore, Schenck was accused of three account indictment namely, violating the Espionage Act of 1917, conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, and unlawful use of mails for transferring the pamphlets. Whereas, Schenck argued that the Espionage Act was unconstitutional because it broke the First Amendment's promise the "Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech."

Lower Court Ruling: The lower Court (Federal Court) found Schenck guilty on all of accounts and upheld the power of Congress to as a right to protect against such circumstances that can create the substantive evils.

Legal questions: Is the First Amendment violated when Congress makes a law that punishes dissent in wartime?

Issues Discussed: Schenck was arrested for organizing a protest against the military draft undertaken by the Federal Government, the Espionage Act, which he said is unconstitutional. The things state in the pamphlets by the defendants would be have been in the constitutional rights in many places and ordinary times; however, how far a person's freedom of speech extends depends on the circumstances. And the words used in the pamphlets in such circumstances and are of such a nature that creates a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils. The Supreme Court...