BRANDENBURG v. OHIO

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
492
Petitioner 
Ohio
Respondent 
Brandenburg
Decided By 
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the appellant)
(Argued the cause for the appellee)
Tags
Term:
Location: Farm
Facts of the Case 

Brandenburg, a leader in the Ku Klux Klan, made a speech at a Klan rally and was later convicted under an Ohio criminal syndicalism law. The law made illegal advocating "crime, sabotage, violence, or unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reform," as well as assembling "with any society, group, or assemblage of persons formed to teach or advocate the doctrines of criminal syndicalism."

Question 

Did Ohio's criminal syndicalism law, prohibiting public speech that advocates various illegal activities, violate Brandenburg's right to free speech as protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments?

Conclusion 
Decision: 8 votes for Brandenburg, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 1: Speech, Press, and Assembly

The Court's Per Curiam opinion held that the Ohio law violated Brandenburg's right to free speech. The Court used a two-pronged test to evaluate speech acts: (1) speech can be prohibited if it is "directed at inciting or producing imminent lawless action" and (2) it is "likely to incite or produce such action." The criminal syndicalism act made illegal the advocacy and teaching of doctrines while ignoring whether or not that advocacy and teaching would actually incite imminent lawless action. The failure to make this distinction rendered the law overly broad and in violation of the Constitution.

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BRANDENBURG v. OHIO. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 21 September 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1968/1968_492/>.
BRANDENBURG v. OHIO, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1968/1968_492/ (last visited September 21, 2014).
"BRANDENBURG v. OHIO," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed September 21, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1968/1968_492/.