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JMU’s protection of free speech, while promising, could be better


Balancing the freedom of expression with the health and safety of the people has been an issue that's long troubled our nation’s highest courts. The freedom of speech, and Bill of Rights as a whole, is a symbol of national pride in the U.S. However, we don’t practice complete and unadulterated free speech — and haven’t for a long time.


One of the first major Supreme Court cases regarding free speech, Schenck v. United States, saw the court rule in 1919 against the defendant’s right to spread anti-draft literature, stating that speech inciting “clear and present danger” isn’t protected by the constitution Since that time, free speech has been increasingly narrowly defined by preceding court decisions.




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