Descision: Roth v. United States (1957)  

rm_affbreak 46M
80 posts
6/23/2005 5:03 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Descision: Roth v. United States (1957)

Voting 5-4, the Court decided that 'obscene' material has no protection under the First Amendment.
"All ideas having even the slightest redeeming social importance - unorthodox ideas, controversial ideas, even ideas hateful to the prevailing climate of opinion - have the full protection of the guaranties, unless excludable because they encroach upon the limited area of more important interests. But implicit in the history of the First Amendment is the rejection of obscenity as utterly without redeeming social importance."

"However, sex and obscenity are not synonymous. Obscene material is material which deals with sex in a manner appealing to prurient interest. The portrayal of sex, e. g., in art, literature and scientific works, is not itself sufficient reason to deny material the constitutional protection of freedom of speech and press. ...It is therefore vital that the standards for judging obscenity safeguard the protection of freedom of speech and press for material which does not treat sex in a manner appealing to prurient interest."

"The early leading standard of obscenity allowed material to be judged merely by the effect of an isolated excerpt upon particularly susceptible persons. Some American courts adopted this standard but later decisions have rejected it and substituted this test: whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to prurient interest."

blog entry #14

rm_jayR63 59F
1884 posts
6/23/2005 7:43 pm

Who defines prurient interest?

I wrote a paper on this long ago, the one thing that sticks from it is the judge who said "I can't define pornography, but I know it when I see it"

Hows that for ambiguous?

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