"Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech" (US Constitution, Amendment 1) Once in a while, a case comes along that forces us to redefine our views about what "freedom of speech"(Amendment 1) truly means. The case of Collin v Smith is a classic example. In 1977-78, the American Nazi party requested permission to march in the village of Skokie, Illinois, a village predominantly populated by Jews, many of whom were Nazi camp survivors.
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rest. It was a landmark case in the defense of free speech and is often used today as a precedent in free speech cases. This quote, from Circuit Court Judge Pell, succinctly and accurately sums up the overall consensus of the Collin v Smith case. "...if these civil rights are to remain vital for all, they must protect not only those society deems acceptable, but also those whose ideas it quite justifiably rejects and despises." (124)