Yelling “Fire!” in a Crowded Theater – Schenck v. US

Yelling “Fire!” in a Crowded Theater - Schenck v. US
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., c. 1924, introduced the clear-and-present-danger test. | Yelling “Fire!” in a Crowded Theater – Schenck v. US

Yelling “Fire!” in a Crowded Theater – Schenck v. US

During World War I, socialists Charles Schenck and Elizabeth Baer distributed pamphlets claiming that the draft was in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment’s ban on involuntary servitude. The leaflets urged people to oppose the conscription, but only in a peaceful way. Schenck was charged with conspiring to break the 1917 Espionage Act by inciting military insubordination and obstructing recruitment. Schenck and Baer were found guilty of breaking this legislation and filed an appeal claiming that the statute was unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

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