Quote by William O. Douglas

Any test that turns on what is offensive to the communitys standards is too loose, too capricious, too destructive of freedom of expression to be squared with the First Amendment. Under that test, juries can censor, suppress, and punish what they dont like, provided the matter relates to sexual impurity or has a tendency to excite lustful thoughts. This is community censorship in one of its worst forms. It creates a regime where in the battle between the literati and the Philistines, the Philistines are certain to win.

Any test that turns on what is offensive to the communitys s


This quote highlights the criticism of a test that determines what is offensive to the standards of a community. It argues that such a test is too subjective and arbitrary, and that it violates the freedom of expression protected by the First Amendment. The quote suggests that if this test is allowed, juries can act as censors, suppressing and punishing content they personally dislike, particularly if it relates to sexual matters. This form of community censorship is criticized for empowering those with narrow and conservative views, essentially stifling intellectual diversity and creativity.

By William O. Douglas
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