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The First Amendment protects our freedom of speech however there are a few exceptions Obscenity is one of these exceptions and is a form of unprotected speech The Supreme Court has repeatedly held the view that obscenity is not a First Amendment right however the definition of obscenity is vague and has caused many debates To determine if a crime has been committed the law needs to be clear on the difference between which is right and wrong The law governing obscenity developed at the state and local level and has been the subject of a variety of judicial tests One of the earliest tests was the Hicklin rule which resulted from a case in England in 1868 An important aspect of the Hicklin rule was that a work could be obscene if an isolated passage could tend to corrupt any mind that was open to immoral influences Books that were not suitable for children were considered obscene and were banned In 1957 the Supreme Court rejected the Hicklin rule and provided a new basis for judging obscenity with the decision of Roth v United States The Roth rule stated Whether to the average person applying contemporary community standards the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest They claimed that obscenity was not a constitutionally protected form of speech due to its utter lack of redeeming social importance The Court openly admitted that it had major difficulties in defining what was obscene and suffered from an inability to get a handle on it While confessing that he could not define obscenity Justice Potter Stewart stated I know it when I see it The Roth standard proved difficult to understand and implement with the exception of hard-core pornography and led to political controversy and rapid expansion of the pornographic industry The United States needed to find a
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