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Using Profanity and the First Amendment

Question: Is using profane language protected by First Amendment rights?Answer: As offensive as it may be to some people, the use of profane language, whether spoken or in print, is not unlawful. Some municipalities may have old laws on the books that prohibit profanity, but those laws violate the First Amendment. In 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court addressed the issue of profanity involving a man that had been arrested for wearing a jacket with a swear word on it. The court ruled that profanity was fully protected.  For more information about Illinois law, visit www.illinoislawyerfinder.com.  If you have a legal question, send it to illinoislawcolumn@isba.org.Illinois Law Now is a series of newspaper and internet posts prepared by the Illinois State Bar Association that address legal issues of interest to the public. For additional information about the law, visit http://www.illinoislawyerfinder.com/legal-faqs

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