"We cannot sanction the view that the Constitution, while solicitous of the cognitive content of individual speech, has little or no regard for that emotive function which, practically speaking, may often be the more important element of the overall message sought to be communicated."
John Marshall Harlan II
(1833–1911), US Supreme Court Justice, 1877–1911
Cohen v. California, 1971
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Reader comments about this quote:
In words that are not bullshit . . .

We judges can't leave out consideration of intent of the speech.
When said plainly, you can see he left out some shit about how the words can cause physical damage.

Better words: if the purpose was to cause a stampede where a crowd is ready to respond to an emergency warning... then string the fucker up.

Man I hate intellectual bullshit speech. Somebody ought to challenge his speech.
 -- Walter, Fullerton     
  • 2 1
    Walter, a 2 thumbs up and a great big ;-) . I love the word salad in support of word salad. This case has eluded my solicitous cognitive content - had to look it up (too funny). As hard as it is to believe and, on such a rare occasion, mark one up for the Supreme Court. California's "maliciously and willfully disturbing the peace" as concerns free speech has only expanded over the years.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 2
    At its most sublime, freedom of speech is constituted of the freedom to communicate the conquering Truth, in all of its dimensions, entirely freely.
     -- Patrick Henry, Red Hill     
  • 2
     -- E Archer, NYC      
    Walter in Fullerton, I implore you to click this link, it tells the story behind this quote and gives some additional insight about why this was chosen for our discussion.


    Your attitude was my first reaction as well - but I knew due to my own deficient education and base grasp of language, I needed further study to comprehend exactly what the fine Justice Harlan meant. The quote is eloquent, fluent, and makes perfect sense, if you merely read its back-story.
     -- Mark W, Aurora, CO     
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