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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Eye of the Beholder

CensoredHistorically, case law has been hesitant to define what constitutes “art.”  However, with respect to what constitutes “pornography,” we all know the infamous Supreme Court line, “I know it when I see it,” as well as the discussion of the topic in this case and Justice Thurgood Marshall’s opinion here.  All of this being said, I am reminded of a painting that I once saw in a law professor’s office.  It was of a nude woman, clearly artistic, and certainly not pornographic.  Yet, I imagine that some students and other visitors were likely uncomfortable with it.  A personal office that is part of a larger professional environment may thus not be the best location for such displays, and courts are weighing in.  Should some art be off limits in the office – even in law schools?

Posted by Kelly Anders on December 23, 2014 at 12:36 PM in Culture, Deliberation and voices, First Amendment, Life of Law Schools, Workplace Law | Permalink


I appreciate that essay on Justice Stewart's concurrence and his often misunderstood comment. I have seen the film in question; it is somewhat hard for me to understand how three justices found it appropriate to allow a state to ban it. Also, as noted, in a somewhat harder case shortly thereafter, Stewart did provide some specific standards. Not that he ever found a film as a judge (except perhaps once) that broke them.

A more recent expression of judging art can be found in Justice Scalia's concurrence in Pope v. Illinois.


Posted by: Joe | Dec 24, 2014 10:37:44 AM

We have to protect the Free Speech rights of all Americans, and what constitutes art as well. The right for me to preach the gospel is a Free Speech right, and I am thankful for this. Yet the gospel that I preach, sometimes offends reasonable people. Shall I stop preaching the gospel for this reason? I must obey God and preach the gospel, so that those walking in darkness can come to the glorious light of the gospel of Christ. So it is with art, as it offends some reasonable minded people. We must respect the rights of others, as long as it is within the bounds of the law. This is what makes the United States of America the greatest country on earth, and as long as we continue to abide by these principles, it will continue to be the greatest country on earth. God Bless America!

Posted by: Timothy Wayne George | Dec 23, 2014 8:35:06 PM

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