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DegradationWhat the History of Obscenity Tells Us about Hate Speech$
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Kevin W. Saunders

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814741443

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814741443.001.0001

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(p.123) 7 Using Obscenity Doctrine to Address Hate Speech

(p.123) 7 Using Obscenity Doctrine to Address Hate Speech

(p.123) 7 Using Obscenity Doctrine to Address Hate Speech

Kevin W. Saunders

NYU Press

This chapter examines the use of obscenity doctrine to address hate speech. It first considers the U.S. test currently used for obscenity, set forth by the Supreme Court in the 1973 case Miller v. California, along with criticisms against the Miller test. It then discusses the three prongs of the Miller test in order to adapt it to hate speech: appeal to the prurient interest; patent offensiveness and statutory definition; and a material's lack of serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. It also explores the Supreme Court's ruling in the 1974 case Hamling v. United States, in which it tackled the mental state required for a person to be guilty of a violation of obscenity laws.

Keywords:   obscenity doctrine, hate speech, obscenity, Supreme Court, Miller v. California, Miller test, prurient interest, offensiveness, Hamling v. United States, obscenity laws

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