The Supreme Court: The Obscenity Chore

Obscenity is a relatively new crime.

Not until 1727 was it made punishable under English common law; not until 1 957 did the U.S. Supreme Court hold that it was not covered by the First Amendment guarantees of free speech and press. But even in that decision (Roth v. U.S.), which upheld a federal obscenity statute, the court was clearly unclear about the "dim and uncertain" line between obscenity and protected expression. Painfully, the court decreed three tests:

> Whether the material is "utterly with out redeeming social importance."

> "Whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme...

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