Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network

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by jamescarver
Last updated 6 years ago

Social Studies
American History

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Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network

The case was argued in 1996. The main question that was being argued was: Are the following provisions unconstitutional, fixed buffer zones around abortion clinics, floating buffer zones around people and vehicles seeking access to or leaving abortion clinics, and an optional "cease and desist" command for sidewalk counselors inside the abortion clinic buffer zones?

Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network

Main Question

Do You Agree?


Supreme Court Decision

The supreme court said that 'fixed buffer zone' limitations are constitutional, but the provisions imposing 'floating buffer zone' limitations violate the First Amendment.

Justices' Opinions

William Rehnquist delivered the majority opinion saying that fixed buffer zones were constitutional but floating buffer zones were not.Scalia delivered the dissension saying:as a general matter, we have indicated that in public debate our own citizens must tolerate insulting, and even outrageous, speech in order to provide adequate breathing space to the freedoms protected by the First Amendment. Saying that we must handle unwanted speech and let it happen unrestricted under the 1st amendment.

We agree with the court because public safety should overrule the right to free speech. When public safety is in danger as it was in this case, then there must be fixed buffer zones where people can still speak freely and be heard without the public being in danger.

The big picture is that there is a limit to free speech in terms of how and where you can say it when public safety is involved. It is not okay to endanger people (spit on them etc.) and call it free speech

Big Picture


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