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Terminiello v. Chicago

Impact

The passage of Douglas's opinion quoted above became the key to opinions upholding First Amendment rights in public assembly cases for years to come. While Terminiello signaled a major victory for free speech, the victory was not complete. Douglas made clear that there was a point--namely, where it creates a clear and present danger--at which it was acceptable to restrict speech. Laws such as Chicago's could be reasonably applied. It was the way in which it was used against Terminiello that represented a violation of his rights. The Court held that the trial judge's definition of a "breach of peace" was too narrow, not that a valid definition was impossible.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1941 to 1953Terminiello v. Chicago - Significance, Impact