Constitutional Law: Second Thoughts on Obscenity

For judges faced with the problem of defining the "dim and uncertain" line between obscenity and constitutionally protected free expression, the Supreme Court has painfully worked out a combination of three tests:

> Whether the material is "utterly without redeeming social importance."

> "Whether to the average person, ap plying contemporary community stand ards, the dominant theme taken as a whole appeals to prurient interest."

> Whether it also "goes substantially beyond customary limits of candor" to the point of "patent offensiveness."*

Unfortunately, no two judges can be counted on to read the test results...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!