An introduction to Constitutional Law 100 Supreme Court cases everyone should know

Randy E. Barnett & Josh Blackman

New York convicted Benjamin Gitlow of “criminal anarchy.” Like Schenck, Gitlow also distributed Socialist literature. The Supreme Court upheld New York’s restriction on speech. Gitlow, however, is an important case because it seemed to decide an important constitutional question: the First Amendment limited the state’s police power by virtue of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. The Court “assume[d] that freedom of speech and of the press—which are protected by the First Amendment from abridgment by Congress—are among the fundamental personal rights and ‘liberties’ protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment from impairment by the States.”

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