Through 1957, US courts based obscenity on a common-law test that had been set out in 1868: whether the tendency of the matter charged as obscenity is to deprive and corrupt.
However, after Roth v. US in 1957, the court abandoned the English common-law and held that to be considered obscene something must be "utterly without redeeming social importance." However, throughout time, judges realized that the Roth test, as this was called, was not a very good indicator of obscenity.
Finally, Nixon was elected in 1968, when he appointed Warren E. Burger as the Chief Justice. In 1973, he made the decision in Miller v. California that"whether the work depicts or describe sin a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by state law. Moreover, community standards are based on the immediate locality.
This act, passed in 2008, made illegal the sale of child pornography, and was not overly broad and did not abridge the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Ex Post Facto Laws
Article 1 of the constitution makes laws that make actions illegal even if at the time an action was committed, the action was legal. These are ex post facto laws.
Roe v. Wade
(1973) After McCorvey was unable to get an abortion according to Texas' restrictive statute towards abortion, she hired two lawyers who challenged her case all the way to the Supreme Court under the alias Jane Roe. Justice Harry A Blackmun upheld abortion as one of a women's right to privacy.
Blackmun argued pregnancy in three stages, saying that as a fetus int he first trimester, restricting abortion would be invading a women's privacy. In the second and third trimesters, abortiona could be restricted because terminating a pregnancy could potentially harm a women's health.
(1965) Also relating to the right of privacy, this court case ruled unconstitutional a Connecticut law that outlawed the sale of all types of birth control or allowing physicians to talk to their married patients about them. This case ruled that, through the interpretation of several amendments, that this law invaded marital privacy. These several amendments cast "penumbras" (unstated liberties on the shadows of more explicitly stated rights) thereby creating zones of privacy.
Moreover, unmarked individuals also had the right to contraceptives--people were given the right to be free of unwarranted government intrusion into matters as affecting as begetting a child.
Gitlow v. New York
(1925) When Benjamin Gitlow, a member of the Socialist P arty, began to hand out 16,000 copies of a manifesto that urged workers to overthrow the government, this was against a New York sedition law. States were allowed to pass laws for the well being of their citizens under substantive due process; however with Gotlow v. New York, which although Gitlow was convicted, stated that states were not completely free to limit forms of political expression. This started the incorporation doctrine period, in which states had to follow the Bill of Rights.