First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Schenck’s Lawyers Essay

Submitted By cng626
Words: 468
Pages: 2

WASHINGTON, Mar. 3. – Charles Schenck, the general secretary of the Socialist Party of America believed that the war draft was a form of involuntary servitude, or slavery. He sent in 15,000 pamphlets, encouraging them to oppose the war. The government then accuses Schenck for violating the Sedition Act by intending to obstruct the war drafts and weaken the soldiers’ loyalty. Schenck was then arrested and charged in Philadelphia, PA, for violating the Sedition Act for: “attempting to cause insubordination in the military and naval forces of the United States” and was convicted.
A few days later after he was convicted, he appealed his case to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court agreed to hear his case and his case was tried on January 9th, 1919. During the trial, many questions were brought up. One of which was whether or not the first amendment could be limited during wartime and whether or not if the Sedition Act was constitutional. “I don’t believe that freedoms should be limited at all during wartime.” said Schenck’s lawyers. “There would be no point in the constitution if freedoms are limited.”
What follows is an excerpt of an interview with Schenck’s lawyers during a brief intermission.
Q. As addressed during the trial, Do you believe your client has endangered the American people by promoting the burning of draft cards?
A. No Schenck has not directly told the recipient to burn their draft cards, it is only inferred that he has.
Q. Even so, would it not cause insubordination among the people? Would this not affect the safety of our citizens?
A. No it would not cause insubordination… It would not affect the safety of our citizens because the pamphlet is harmless and is merely speaking out the opinions of Schenck.
Q. Do you believe that during wartime, our rights can be limited for the safety of the