Related instances in liberty of Assembly, Civil rights Movement and also the very first Amendment, speech on Public home
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In Edwards v. South Carolina (1963), the can be fried Court ruled that southern Carolina had violated students’ an initial Amendment rights when police dispersed a serene protest against segregation. In this photo, college student protesting segregation start parading in prior of Dillard college in brand-new Orleans in 1960. Around 200 student participated with care to maintain spacing in between themselves on the sidewalk. (AP Photo/RWT, supplied with permission from the connected Press)


In Edwards v. South Carolina, 372 U.S. 229 (1963), the supreme Court rule that southern Carolina had actually violated students’ first Amendment rights of peaceable assembly, speech, and petition when the police distributed a serene protest against segregation. The instance illustrates one of the duties played through the first Amendment in the civil rights motion of the 1950s and 1960s.

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South Carolina student arrested throughout peaceful protest

The case started on march 2, 1961, once a team of African-American high school and college student marched ~ above the south Carolina State home grounds in Columbia come protest segregation. Carrying placards reading “Down with Segregation” and similar protest phrases, the college student walked single and double document for about 45 minutes, attracting a crowd of 200 come 300 onlookers, once the police gave them 15 minute to disperse.

Instead the leaving, the college student chanted patriotic and spiritual songs. At the finish of the 15 minutes, police police officers arrested the students. A magistrate’s court in Columbia convicted 187 students because that violating a breach-of-the-peace law. The convictions carried a good of between $10 and $100 and also a jail sentence of 10 come 30 days. The southern Carolina supreme Court affirmed the convictions.

Court claimed students exercised basic first Amendment rights

In the majority opinion for the can be fried Court, justice Potter Stewart created that the students’ action “reflect an exercise of these straightforward constitutional civil liberties in their many pristine and also classic form.” Stewart emphasized the the students action peaceably and also never threatened violence or harm. The concluded that the an initial and 14th Amendments carry out not “permit a State to do criminal the calm expression of unpopular views.”

Dissenting justice stated demonstration was no "passive"

Justice Tom C. Clark, in a lone dissent, asserted that the bulk understated the truth that confronted the police in Columbia and also that the students’ actions to be “by no method the passive demonstration which this Court relates.”

He believed that the police had acted reasonably in preventing a feasible riot. “But come say the the police may not intervene until the lytic has occurred is like keeping out the physician until the patient dies,” that wrote.

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In Adderly v. Florida (1966), the Court would distinguish demonstrations ~ above state capitol grounds from comparable demonstrations top top the grounds that a jail.

David L. Hudson, Jr. Is a law professor at Belmont who publishes commonly on an initial Amendment topics. The is the author of a 12-lecture audio course on the an initial Amendment entitled Freedom the Speech: expertise the very first Amendment (Now You know Media, 2018). He likewise is the writer of many first Amendment books, including The first Amendment: flexibility of Speech (Thomson Reuters, 2012) and also Freedom the Speech: files Decoded (ABC-CLIO, 2017). This short article was originally published in 2009.​