MC 4163 - First Exam Study Guide:
First Amendment Tests
Know the definitions and rules. Be able to correctly recognize and apply them in hypothetical situations
- The hierarchy of protected speech: politically and socially valuable expression, commercial speech, obscenity, false advertising and fighting words.
- What is the essence of a democracy?
- Which right is central to U.S. political philosophy?
- What were the political and social conditions that led to the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798? The sedition law prohibited what? It was aimed at whom? Was it successful in limiting dissent?
- What were the social conditions that led to censorship of political dissent in World War I?
- What speech was prohibited by the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918?
- Against whom were the laws used?
- What speech was prohibited by the states during that time?
- What speech did the Smith Act prohibit? The statute was aimed against whom?
- Be familiar with the modern applications of anti-sedition laws.
- Schenck and Abrams: What test was created in these cases?
- Brandenburg v. Ohio, 1969
- Know what got whom into trouble and the outcome of the case.
- What test was produced in this case?
- Understand the components of the test and how to apply it in hypothetical situations to determine which speech is protected and which is not.
- United States v. Alvarez: Will discuss in class.
- Understand how the courts have applied Brandenburg to resolve claims that the media played some part in inciting the actual perpetrator of the crime to commit the illegal act.
- Understand Rice v. Paladin Enterprises, 128 F.3d 233 (4th Cir. 1997)
(The "Hit Man Case")
- What is the central legal question?
- What is the answer to that question?
- Which First Amendment theory would best defend the publisher?
- Which method of judicial interpretation was used by the Fourth Circuit?
- When faced with a precedent, which option did the Fourth Circuit choose? Why?
- What were the grounds for appealing to the Fourth Circuit?
- Was the Fourth Circuit's ruling in this case correct? Why?
- What does the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to hear the case mean?
- Does this case have ramifications for other media? Why?
- What lesson should the media learn from the "To Catch a Predator" lawsuit?
- What is the rationale for restricting access to violent video games?
- Why are video games protected by the First Amendment?
- Why have the statutes been struck down?
- For example, is there reliable scientific evidence that video games cause children or teens to act violently?
- Why do politicians keep enacting such laws?
- How do these statutes affect taxpayers?
- What was the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling and rationale in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association (June 27, 2011)?
- How has the Brandenburg test been applied against anti-abortion websites?
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