Clear and Present Danger
Clear and present danger - phrase used in the Supreme Court decision, Schenck v. United States (1919). It refers to the idea that the government has the right to punish individuals who engage in speech or actions which can be shown to present a serious and immediate danger to the nation or the interests of the government. Schenck had been convicted for having distributed leaflets urging people not to register for the draft during World War I. Although such "speech" would have been within his rights in peacetime, the Supreme Court ruled that the fact that he engaged in that activity in a time of war made his actions pose a "clear and present danger" to the nation.