Bradenburg v. Ohio (1969)

Bradenburg v. Ohio
395 U.S. 444 (1969)

Facts: A Ku Klux Klan leader was convicted under Ohio’s Criminal Syndicalism statute for advocating and teaching the need for violent and unlawful means to bring about industrial and political reform.

Issue: Did the Ohio Criminal Syndicalism statute violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments?

Holding: Yes.

Analysis: The court held that merely advocating or teaching violence does not rise to the same level as actually preparing for violent actions. In this case, the Ohio statute failed to draw that distinction and was violative of the First and Fourteenth amendments. “A conviction for incitement … is constitutional only if several requirements are met: imminent harm, a likelihood of producing illegal action, and an intent to cause imminent illegality.”

Notes: Syndicalism – a movement for transferring the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution to workers’ unions.

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