1. In Schenck v US, 249 U.S. 47 (1919), members of the socialist group distributed antiwar circulars to new military recruits in violation of the Espionage Act. The Court held that words are not protected by the First Amendment when they are used in a way that bring about substantive evils to which Congress has a right to prevent. This clear and present danger test was subsequently used in Abrams v. US 250 U.S. 616 (1919) and Gitlow v New York, 268 U.S. 652 (1925). In Abrams, the Court upheld the conviction of the defendants on the grounds of clear and present danger for urging the halt of the production of war materials. In Gitlow, the defendant was convicted under a NY state law for publishing a left wing manifesto. In both cases Justice Holmes, together with Justice Brandeis, dissented on the grounds that the acts of the defendants were not enough to constitute clear and present danger because of their lack of immediacy
2. Yes, the case of Dennis v. US, 341 U.S. 494 (1951) was a political trial. A political trial is one in which specific individuals are targeted for their views, the purpose of which is to discredit such individuals who potentially pose a threat to the government (Schwöbel 120). In Dennis, the defendants - Communist Party leaders - were charged with the violation of the Smith Act, a law that punished teaching and conspiring knowingly to overthrow the government. As Communists, they basically posed a threat to the government’s existence.
3. In Tinker v Des Moines, 393 U.S. 503 (1969), the Court held that students in public school have First Amendment rights, which the school can only interfere with if it is able to prove that such speech would substantially and materially disrupt school operations. In Morse v. Frederick, 551 U.S. 393 (2007), the Court held that the right of students to free speech does not extend to pro-drug messages because it undercuts the school’s discouragement of drug use.
4. In United States v. O'Brien, 391 U.S. 367 (1968), the Court held that draft burning to express war opposition was not protected by the First Amendment. It established the symbolic expression test where regulation on symbolic speech is justified by the following: it is an expression of a constitutional power, it advances an important government interest, such interest and the suppression of symbolic speech is unrelated, and it is not greater than the advancement of such interest. However, in Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989), the Court held that flag-burning as an expression of political protest is protected by the First Amendment because the offensiveness of the symbolic expression in the eyes of society cannot justify restriction of the 1st Amendment.
5. In Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350 (1977), the Court held that commercial speech, such as legal advertising, is protected by the 1st and 14th Amendments. Commercial advertising, said the Court, serves the important function of informing the public of services and products, and legal advertising informs the public of the availability and cost of legal services, rather than harm the dispensation of justice. In Central Hudson Gas and Electrical v. New York 47 U.S. 557 (1980), the Court held that a ban by the PSC of New York on promotional advertising violated the 1st and 14th Amendments because it did not distinguish their effects on electricity use.
6. In Near v. Minnesota, 283 U.S. 697 (1931), the Court invalidated a Minnesota gag law that enjoined newspapers from regularly publishing materials that are either lewd or malicious and scandalous. The Court held that such a law is characteristic of a prior restraint, which goes against the very heart of the First Amendment. Thus, the government cannot censor publications in advance even though the materials turn out to be punishable. In New York Times v. U.S, 403 U.S. 713 (1971), the government prohibited two newspapers from publishing classified materials in the name of national security. The Court held that this violated the 1st Amendment because it constituted prior restraint, the presumption of which the government was no able to overcome.
Abrams v. US 250 U.S. 616 (1919).
Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350 (1977).
Dennis v. US, 341 U.S. 494 (1951).
Gitlow v New York, 268 U.S. 652 (1925).
Morse v. Frederick, 551 U.S. 393 (2007).
Near v. Minnesota, 283 U.S. 697 (1931).
Schenck v US, 249 U.S. 47 (1919).
Schwöbel, Christine. Critical Approaches to International Criminal Law: An Introduction. Routledge, 2014.
Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989).
Tinker v Des Moines, 393 U.S. 503 (1969).
United States v. O'Brien, 391 U.S. 367 (1968).