Legal Opinion: Schenck v. the United States
March 11, 2014
Is Charles Schenck found guilty of violating the Espionage Act; or does Schenk’s freedom of speech given to him by the First Amendment triumph over the Espionage Act?
Short Opinion Statement:
No, Charles Schenck should not be found found guilty of violating the Espionage Act. Schenck is only exercising his right to freedom of speech, and has full protection from the First Amendment of the Constitution. Evidence along with case precedents show that Schenck is innocent.
The tweet seen around the world. For his tweet, Charles Schenck, a prominent socialist, was charged by the U.S government for violating the Espionage Act. With over 400,000 retweets, Schenck spoke out against the draft imposed for the “War on Terror.” His tweet claimed that the draft was in violation of the thirteenth amendment since it amounted to involuntary servitude, which was forbidden and outlawed during 1865.Schenck also claimed that the draft was motivated by capitalist greed, and advised a petition for the draft. The United States government accused Schenck of conspiring “to cause insubordination… in the military and naval forces of the United States.” In response to this accusation, Schenck claims that he has full protection by the First Amendment, and that the Espionage Act is violating his First Amendment rights.
Charles Schenck’s tweet that reached many people through social media was simply him voicing his opinion and view of the government. What he did does not fall under any of the exceptions in which you cannot be protected by your right to freedom of speech; those exceptions include using the right to protect yourself when inciting violence, conflict, shouting threats, or harassment etc. Schenck participated in none of those things. Defense attorney Brennan Stevens made a valid point that all justices agreed on, “It is clear his words were not obscene or...