LSTD301

LSTD301

50 words each agree or disagree questions

Q 1.

Free Speech Fact Pattern (Surname ending with S)

Synopsis: A gay marine couple attacked protesters resulting in the death of one and serious bodily harm of another. The protesters arrested and charged for breach of peace.

Under the fighting words doctrine, the Supreme Court outlines that “by their very utterance, inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace. It has been observed that such utterances are no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit derived from them is overshadowed by the social interest in order and morality.”[1] The protestors had obtained the requisite permit and were demonstrating in a City Park, using signs megaphones to state their message. The means of protest is somewhat similar to that in Snyder v. Phelps[2] only with a different result.

Does the facts constitute the application of the fighting words doctrine?

No; it does not.

(1) The NOM Protesters speech was directly related to an ongoing public issue which makes it protected, and could not be prevented as it was on public property.

(2) The Supreme Court ruled that any misbehavior may constitute a breach of the peace if it stirs the public to anger, invites dispute, brings about a condition of unrest, or creates a disturbance, or if it molests the inhabitants in the enjoyment of peace by arousing alarm.

See: Terminiello v City of Chicago 337 U.S. 1 (69 S.Ct. 894, 93 L.Ed. 1131)

In order to prove ‘breach of peace,’ the NOM protesters would have to be in engaged in disorderly conduct such as using abusive or obscene language in a public place, resisting a lawful arrest, and trespassing or damaging property when accompanied by violence.[3]Since this was not the case, the issue of breach of peace is not applicable, as the protesters were physically attacked and were forced to defend themselves.

The protesters did not engage in any direct conversation with any person’s from the wedding party or with the wedding couple. Under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment guarantees that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.[4] Any speech involving homosexuality is a matter of public concern.

[1] Fighting Words | Wex Legal Dictionary / Encyclopedia | LII …. https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/fighting_words

[2] Snyder v. Phelps, 533 F. Supp. 2d 567, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8119, 40 A.L.R.6th 735, 36 Media L. Rep. 1516 (United States District Court for the District of Maryland February 4, 2008, Decided). Retrieved from https://advance.lexis.com/api/document?collection=cases&id=urn:contentItem:4RS4-K800-TXFR-11WV-00000-00&context=1516831.

[3] Encyclopedia of American Law: breach of the peace. (n.d.) West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. (2008). Retrieved September 19 2019 from https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/breach+of+the+peace

[4] Amendment 1 Religious and political freedom., USCS Const. Amend. 1 (Current through the ratification of the 27th Amendment on May 7, 1992.). Retrieved from https://advance.lexis.com/api/document?collection=statutes-legislation&id=urn:contentItem:8T9R-T2X2-D6RV-H374-00000-00-1&context=1516831.

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