CHAPLINSKY v. STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
255
Petitioner 
Chaplinsky
Respondent 
State of New Hampshire
Term:
Facts of the Case 

Chaplinsky, a Jehovah's Witness, called a city marshal a "God-damned racketeer" and "a damned fascist" in a public place. He was arrested and convicted under a state law for violating a breach of the peace.

Question 

Does the application of the statute violate Chaplinsky's freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment?

Conclusion 

No. Some forms of expression--among them obscenity and fighting words--do not convey ideas and thus are not subject to First Amendment protection. In this case, Chaplinsky uttered fighting words, i.e., words that "inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace."

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CHAPLINSKY v. STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 12 December 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1940-1949/1941/1941_255/>.
CHAPLINSKY v. STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1940-1949/1941/1941_255/ (last visited December 12, 2014).
"CHAPLINSKY v. STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed December 12, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1940-1949/1941/1941_255/.