Document Type

Article

Comments

Judicial Activists, Judicial Self-Deniers, Judicial Review, and the First Amendment – Or, How to Hide the Melody of What You Mean Behind the Words of What You Say, 47 GEO. L. REV. 483 (1959)

Abstract

In the early evening of March 8, 1948, a college student named Irving Feiner was standing on an actual soap box at a street corner in Syracuse, New York, speaking in occasionally abusive language in behalf of Henry Wallace's absurd bid for the United States presidency. Of a crowd of seventy-five or eighty, one or two men threatened Feiner; a policeman thereupon ordered Feiner to shut up and climb down; Feiner refused; he was arrested and sentenced to thirty days in the penitentiary. His conviction, protested up to the Supreme Court, was there upheld, six to three. Said Justice Frankfurter, characteristically in concurrence: "Where conduct is within the allowable limits of free speech, the police are peace officers for the speaker as well as for his hearers. But . . . ." And again: "Enforcement of these [breach-of-peace] statutes calls for public tolerance and intelligent police administration. These, in the long run, must give substance to whatever the Court may say about free speech. But . . . ." Said Justice Black, in dissent: "I think this conviction makes a mockery of the free speech guarantees of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. . . . I will have no part or parcel in this holding which I view as a long step toward totalitarian authority." There were no But's.

Date of Authorship for this Version

1959

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