Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 1998


Part I of this article briefly reviews the legal and social context of Dennis and Yates. Parts II and III similarly review Madsen and Schenck in order to show potential parallels to the earlier communist decisions. Part IV further examines both Madsen and Schenck, demonstrating that, from a doctrinal standpoint, they are far removed from the earlier communist cases. Finally, Part V explains how the Court in Madsen and Schenck actually contributed to misconceptions or manipulation of its opinions. Specifically, Part V examines the Madsen and Schenck Courts' approaches to three of the more difficult doctrinal issues facing them--prior restraint, the place of motive in content-discrimination, and regulation of offensive speech in the public forum--and concludes that the Court's tendency to rely blindly on rhetoric and precedent without further discussion leaves its decisions vulnerable to misconstruction and manipulation.



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