Official Newspaper of Eddy County since 1883

Free speech origins: Clear and present danger test

America’s free speech story, as written in Supreme Court decisions, did not begin until World War I when the court declared in 1919, in Schenck v. United States, that speech is protected unless it presents a “clear and present danger” to our nation.

The court’s landmark opinion, written by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, introduced a test to determine the parameters of protected speech that, in one...