First Amendment Timeline

Timeline created by gnwest
  • Schenck v. United States

    Schenck v. United States
    The Supreme Court affirmed the convictions of the defendants for conspiring to violate certain federal statutes by attempting to incite subordination in the armed forces and interfere with recruitment and enlistment. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes stated in this case his famous aphorism about "falsely shouting fire in a theatre" and set forth a "clear and present danger test" to judge whether speech is protected by the First Amendment.
  • Evans v. Selma Union High School District of Fresno County

    Evans v. Selma Union High School District of Fresno County
    The California State Supreme Court held that the King James version of the Bible was not a "publication of a sectarian, partisan, or denominational character" that a State statute required a public high school library to exclude from its collections. The "fact that the King James version is commonly used by Protestant Churches and not by Catholics" does not "make its character sectarian," the court stated.
  • West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette

    West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette
    In 1940, the West Virginia Board of Education issued regulations requiring every schoolchild to participate daily in a salute to the flag of the United States. The Barnette children, all members of the Jehovah's Witnesses, refused to participate in the flag salute, consistent with the tenets of their religious beliefs, and were expelled from school. The Supreme Court stood on the grounds that the First Amendment barred any rule compelling an individual to salute the flag or say the pledge.
  • Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District

    Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District
    In this seminal case considering the First Amendment rights of students who were expelled after they wore black armbands to school in symbolic protest of the Vietnam War, the Supreme Court held that students "do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate" and that the First Amendment protects public school students' rights to express political and social views.
  • American Booksellers Assoc., Inc. v. Hudnut

    American Booksellers Assoc., Inc. v. Hudnut
    The city of Indianapolis passed a statute outlawing pornography, defined as the graphic, sexually explicit subordination of women, presenting women as sex objects, or as enjoying pain, humiliation, or servility. The court of appeals struck the law down, saying it impermissibly established an "approved" view of women and how they react in sexual encounters. They called this thought control.
  • Smith v. Board of School Commissioners of Mobile (Ala.) County

    Smith v. Board of School Commissioners of Mobile (Ala.) County
    Parents and other citizens brought a lawsuit against the school board, alleging that the school system was teaching the tenets of an anti-religious religion called "secular humanism." The complainants asked that forty-four different elementary through high school level textbooks be removed from the curriculum. The Court found that the texts in question promoted important secular values (tolerance, self-respect, logical decision making) and thus the use of the textbooks neither unconstitutionally
  • Cohen v. San Bernardino Valley College

    Cohen v. San Bernardino Valley College
    Tenured professor of English was disciplined for violating the college's sexual harassment policy against creating a "hostile learning environment" for his in-class use of profanity, and discussions of sex, pornography, obscenity, cannibalism, and other controversial topics in a confrontational, devil's advocate style. The court held the policy unconstitutionally vague as applied to Cohen's in-class speech, calling it a "legalistic ambush."
  • American Amusement Machine Association, et al., v. Teri Kendrick, et al.

    American Amusement Machine Association, et al., v. Teri Kendrick, et al.
    Enacted in July 2001, an Indianapolis, Ind., city ordinance required video game arcade owners to limit access to games that depicted certain activities, including amputation, decapitation, dismemberment, bloodshed, or sexual intercourse. Only with the permission of an accompanying parent or guardian could children seventeen years old and younger play these types of video games. On March 23, 2001, a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the trial court's
  • Counts v. Cedarville School District

    Counts v. Cedarville School District
    The school board of the Cedarville, Arkansas school district voted to restrict students' access to the Harry Potter books, on the grounds that the books promoted disobediance and disrespect for authority and dealt with witchcraft and the occult.The District Court overturned the Board's decision and ordered the books returned to unrestricted circulation, on the grounds that the restrictions violated students' First Amendment right to read and receive information.
  • Citizens United v Federal Election Commission

    The United States Supreme Court holding that corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited under the First Amendment. The 5-4 decision resulted from a dispute over whether the non-profit corporation Citizens United could air a film critical of Hillary Clinton, and whether the group could advertise the film in broadcast ads featuring Clinton's image.