The cases below are color-coded into four large categories: obscenity and libel (red), freedom of religion (yellow), protest and political speech (green), and government security and loyalty (purple).
As you’ll notice, there is another color group, blue, which is coded as First Amendment miscellaneous. Not very descriptive, right? So we took those out, until we get the funding to look into them in greater detail, and are left with this graph:
Dive, Dive, Dive
Let’s delve even deeper and look at the cases in a more granular fashion. As the above graph shows visually, and we have highlighted with color, the cases have formed four main grouping areas because of citation similarities (with one outlier set, conscientious objectors). The size of the cases, as said before, is based on citations received, which gives us a general idea of the importance of a case. Read about how the issues were coded here.
Obscenity and libel
These are the smaller areas (and their colors):
commercial speech, excluding attorneys*
libel, defamation: defamation of public officials and public and private persons
libel, privacy: true and false light invasions of privacy
obscenity, state (cf. comity: privacy): including the regulation of sexually explicit material under the 21st Amendment
Click on some of the larger cases, like Roth v. US and New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, to reveal more information about them. What cases are they linked to? Does the position of Roth (close to most of the other cases) and of New York Times (further away) tell you anything about how they might be related to other obscenity and libel cases?
*We chose to include Commercial Speech because it’s cases were closely related to the obscenity and libel ones, though they are not exactly the same.
Freedom of Religion
These cases focus on freedom of religion. The cases are colored by their Issue Area as coded by the Supreme Court Database.
free exercise of religion
parochiaid: government aid to religious schools, or religious requirements in public schools
establishment of religion (other than as pertains to parochiaid:)
Protest and Political Speech
These cases focus on the right to protest and political speech. The cases are colored by their Issue Area as coded by the Supreme Court Database.
protest demonstrations (other than as pertains to sit-in demonstrations): demonstrations and other forms of protest based on First Amendment guarantees
conscientious objectors (cf. military draftee or military active duty) to military service
campaign spending (cf. governmental corruption):
Loyalty and Government Security
These cases focus on attempts to regulate speech on the grounds of government security. The cases are colored by their Issue Area as coded by the Supreme Court Database.
legislative investigations: concerning internal security only
federal internal security legislation: Smith, Internal Security, and related federal statutes
loyalty oath or non-Communist affidavit (other than bar applicants, government employees, political party, or teacher)
loyalty oath: bar applicants (cf. admission to bar, state or federal or U.S. Supreme Court)
loyalty oath: government employees
loyalty oath: political party
loyalty oath: teachers
security risks: denial of benefits or dismissal of employees for reasons other than failure to meet loyalty oath requirements