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Brandenburg v. Ohio

Significance, The Ohio Criminal Syndicalism Law, Whitney Reversed, Impact


Clarence Brandenburg


State of Ohio

Appellant's Claim

That conviction of Brandenburg under the Ohio Criminal Syndicalism Act violated the free speech clauses of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Allen Brown

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Leonard Kirschner

Justices for the Court

Hugo L. Black, William J. Brennan, Jr., William O. Douglas, Abe Fortas, John M. Harlan II, Thurgood Marshall, Potter Stewart, Earl Warren, Byron R. White (unsigned)

Justices Dissenting



Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

9 June 1969


Ruled in favor of Brandenburg and overturned lower court decisions upholding Brandenburg's conviction under the Ohio Criminal Syndicalism Act.

Related Cases

  • Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919).
  • Abrams v. United States, 250 U.S. 616 (1919).
  • Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652 (1925).
  • Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927).
  • Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494 (1951).

Further Readings

  • Biskupic, Joan, and Elder Witt. Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court. 3rd edition. Washington, D.C: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1997.
  • Epstein, Lee, and Thomas G. Walker. Constitutional Law for a Changing America: Rights, Liberties, and Justice. 2nd edition. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Press, 1995.
  • Sunstein, Cass R. "Is Violent Speech a Right?" The American Prospect, Summer 1995.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972