Larry vs Flynt essay

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The US Supreme Court decided the case between Larry Flynt and Jerry Falwell. In the case pastor Falwell who by the time was a popular televangelist, sued Flynt for a cartoon he had produced in his Hustler Magazine. In the Cartoon, the pastor was seen drunk and having sex with his mother in an outhouse. Antony Kennedy made it possible for Falwell Jerry to be awarded compensation because of the pain and suffering he had endured. Falwell was compensated $150000. Later Larry Flynt appealed his case in the Supreme Court where the case was ruled in his favor by chief Justice William Rhenquist (Brewer 2003, P. 264).

The ruling

It was found out that the cartoon was a spoof and nobody believed it though it was never appealing. After the counter suing of the case by Flynt, he was awarded damages. In the ruling by Chief Justice William Rhenquist in the United States Supreme Court, it was decided that Flynt be paid for damages. In the first amendments, there was no provision of damages to figures of public nature for the suffering they had endured because of the abuse they have received.

YouTube quotes the Chief Justice as saying “unpopular speech is healthy to the nation” The key phrase used by Chief Justice William was that all individuals have the freedom to express themselves freely without any hindrances. The first amendment gives individuals the freedom to express themselves freely concerning any public matter without the government’s control. This is important because the individuals are able to share the different ideas they have.

In the case of Flynt and Falwell, Flynt was expressing his ideas using cartoon. It means he was giving out his ideas freely but the fundamental principles of individual life were not followed. Showing a pastor drunk and having sex with his mother is not ethical. The issue of hate speech should never at any time be protected as done by the first amendment. Other people are usually offended by the words of others; hence, the first amendment of the Supreme Court should not protect such speeches, as they are an offense to other people (Brewer 2003, P. 270).


Freedom of speech is fundamental to our society. It helps all the electorates have a say on all matters that affect them. By speaking out things are made to change for the better. Freedom of speech helps the people inform the politicians where they are wrong and require them to change. It also helps the members of parliament to speak out against the evils of the government they are serving. Democracy is usually made possible when there is evidence of freedom of expression.

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