The Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a man for wearing a jacket emblazoned with a profanity in a courthouse, thereby establishing the concept of symbolic speech and limiting the concept of fighting words.
By a 5-4 vote, the Court overturned the conviction of a defendant who wore a jacket with the words “Fuck the draft” emblazoned across its front into a Los Angeles courthouse, where profanity was prohibited. Justice John M. Harlan II,
Although the Court substantially broadened the range of provocative speech under First Amendment protection, it left limits. For example, when young men protested the Vietnam War by burning their draft cards, the Court upheld their conviction in United States v. O’Brien
Brandenburg v. Ohio
O’Brien, United States v.
Texas v. Johnson
Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District