April 09, 2020

Selected Free Speech Developments Fifty Years After Brandenburg v. Ohio

The Brandenburg Decision

Clarence Brandenburg was an Ohio Ku Klux Klan ("KKK") leader who, speaking at localKKK rallies, made statements including, "if our President, our Congress, our Supreme Court, continues to suppress the white, Caucasian race, it's possible that there might have to be some revengeance taken" and "[personally, I believe the nigger should be returned to Africa, the Jew returned to Israel."

Brandenburg was convicted of advocating crime or violence as a means of accomplishing political reform and assembling a group formed to advocate criminal syndicalism under the Ohio Criminal Syndicalism statute.At the time, twenty states had similar laws criminalizing speech that advocated crime or violence. Brandenburg successfully challenged his conviction under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

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