Schenck v. United States
United States Supreme Court
249 U.S. 47 (1919)
Two months after the United States’ entry into World War I, Congress enacted the Espionage Act of 1917 (EA). The law made it a crime for any person, during time of war, to willfully “make or convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere” with the military success or “to promote the success of its enemies.” The law also made it a crime to willfully “obstruct the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States.” Convictions could be punished by sentences of up to twenty years’ imprisonment and fines of up to $10,000. Schenck (defendant) was indicted by the United States Government (plaintiff) for the charge of “conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act” after he mailed literature to draftees during World War I that criticized the draft. The government alleged that Schenck conspired to violate the EA by attempting to cause insubordination in the military and to obstruct military recruitment. Schenck was convicted in federal district court, but appealed his conviction on the grounds that the Espionage Act violated his First Amendment right to freedom of speech. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Holmes, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 168,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 13,800 briefs, keyed to 187 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.