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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Case Summary of Schenck v. United States (249 U.S. 47)

Case Summary of Schenck v. United States (249 U.S. 47)
The plaintiff was charged of conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act of 1917 wherein he cause or cause to attempt insubordination and obstruct the recruiting and enlisting in the United States military service. The defendant were said to printed and gave men who were called upon to enlist for military a document that persuaded the said men for insubordination. The said defendants were found guilty. They content however that the court violated their right of freedom of speech. They set up the First Amendment to the which forbids the Congress to make any law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. They further argued that the evidence which was presented cannot be admissible and cannot point out to the guilt of the defendant that he indeed was liable for the crime indicted to him. Relating one’s opinion is a feature of a democratic society. This shows how strong the principle of democracy in a country especially when there are evident activities such as voting, press freedom and freedom of expression. The democratic government is a more acceptable approach as it ensures that every state will be given a chance to fairly compete with other countries that may determine who will develop or not.

Legal Issue:
The issue in this case is whether the court erred in ruling that the defendant was guilty of insubordination and whether the decision is violative of the freedom of speech.

Ruling of the Court:
The court ruled that the defendant is guilty of the crime. It also stated that the said decision is not violative of the right to freedom of expression as what is being at stake is the interest of the country because of military service.

To determine the different rights of the people the government usually use the media. As an effective medium, television, newspaper, radio and the internet are the popular ways to express public opinion. It is use to educate as it gives information to the people. It gives the people a sense of political involvement and socialization which is good because it shows that the people participate in political issues.  It serves as the watchdog on government activities ensuring that the rights are observed. However, as the basic principle on freedom of expression is applied, certain laws are imposed to observe responsible use of media. It is also important that human rights violations are being watched so that proper authorities will know it. However, the court reiterated that freedom of speech is not absolute and has its limitations. Thus, giving out documents that go against military service is a real indicia of insubordination which is punishable by the law.

Personal Opinion:
I believe that the concept of democracy is to bring out the best in ourselves and for our nation. Upon observing the world order and how people are becoming inclined towards their own individual needs, democracy is a tool towards assuring that the needs of the people are obtained. What is a better concept that may be applicable for the development and growth of our society? Each of us is a part of a whole and our actions and the consequences of such must be our burden rather than be a liability of others. This is the idea that democracy intends to provide. That we are a free individual and whatever we will do and decide upon will be our own fate and our mistakes.

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