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Reply #7: Interesting you should cite "yelling fire in a theater", do you know where that phrase comes from? [View All]

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Bjorn Against Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-14-09 10:56 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. Interesting you should cite "yelling fire in a theater", do you know where that phrase comes from?
It turns out no one ever yelled fire in a crowded theater, but that phrase was used by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes to describe the actions of an anti-war protester who handed out leaflets opposing the draft during World War I. The case was Schenck v. United States, and it was later overturned by Brandenburg v. Ohio. Yes, the case that produced the saying "yelling fire in a crowded theater" was a case in which the legal precedent has been overturned, and it is now clear the person who was convicted in that case had his free speech rights violated.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shouting_fire_in_a_crowded_theater

And courts in other parts of the country have disagreed with you on the proper uses for the horn. Here is a very similar case from Detroit in which the judge clearly ruled there is a right to honk for peace:

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/02/01/6787

When this first started happening some friends of mine asked for all records of tickets issued for improper honking in the past ten years. Outside of the vigil the police did not ticket one single person for honking in the past decade, at the vigil at least four have been ticketed. The police are clearly targeting this event for the message, and that is illegal.
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