Gitlow v. New York Case Brief

Summary of Gitlow v. New York
268 U.S. 652 (1925)

Facts: Gitlow was convicted for publishing the “Left Wing Manifesto" under a state statute that prohibited advocating overthrowing or overturning organized government by force, violence or other unlawful means.

Procedure: The Court of Appeals upheld Gitlow’s coviction.

Issue: Did the 1st Amendment’s right of free speech apply to states? Were Gitlow’s 1st Amendment rights were violated?

Holding: Yes, No

Rationale: The freedom of speech and of press are the fundamental personal rights and liberties that are protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment from impairments by the states. Secondly, although the speech involved in this case did not have any effects, the state can still punish utterances endangering the foundations of organized government and threatening its overthrow by unlawful means. Also, the Court respected the judgment of the state legislature that such speech was dangerous.

IMPORTANCE: Fist case to recognize that the 1st Amendment protections applied to the states.



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