Brief Fact Summary. This case defines obscenity while sustaining the validity of federal and state obscenity laws.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Obscene material is material which deals with sex in a manner appealing to prurient interest. It is not protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution (Constitution).
Issue. Whether obscenity is utterance within the area of protected speech and press?
Held. No. Judgment of the lower court affirmed. In light of history, it is apparent that the phrasing of the First Amendment of the Constitution was not intended to protect every utterance. Implicit in the history of the First Amendment of the Constitution is the rejection of obscenity as utterly without redeeming social importance. Sex and obscenity are not synonymous. Obscenity is not within the area of protected speech and press. The test for obscene material is whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest. This test provides safeguards adequate to withstand the constitutional infirmity. Obscenity is not within the area of protected speech and press. Therefore obscenity is unprotected speech.
That is one of the consequences we accept under our jury system.View Full Point of Law