Constitutional Law: What's Obscene for the Country

The facts were not in dispute when twelve defendants faced a nonjury trial before General Sessions Court Judge Harold H. Greene on various misdemeanor charges of violating Washington, D.C.'s obscenity ordinance. Among the twelve were four dancers accused of giving "an indecent exposition" after admittedly "baring their breasts" at the capital's Gayety Burlesk Theatre. Common as it was, the case produced a precedent that promised to baffle prosecutors all over the country simply because Judge Greene asked the prosecutor: What are "national standards" in sexual expression?

The question was far from capricious. The Supreme Court says...

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