The Law: Sharp Line on Free Speech

Just what does free speech include? How obscene must a book or film be to lose the First Amendment protection? When can a soldier speak without fear of being punished for his words? Last week the question being argued before the court was whether or not a teacher can be fired by a public-school board for criticizing the superintendent of schools. In light of the continual immediacy of the problem, court watchers were looking carefully at Justice Hugo Black's Carpentier Lectures (TIME, March 29)—particularly at the final talk, in which Black dwelled on picketing and other forms of so-called symbolic speech.


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