Introduction There have been many Supreme Court cases that deal ed with many concepts of the law, like obscenity for example. As a matter of fact, obscenity is a concept that Miller v. California deals with. To be more specific, this case deals with what is considered obscene, and if the specific obscenity mentioned in this case is protected by the first amendment, the freedom of speech. I will now explain this case in more depth. What brought this case about? In 1973, Marvin Miller, operator of one of the West Coast's largest mail-order businesses dealing in sexually explicit material, had conducted a mass mailing campaign to advertise the sale of illustrated books, which was known as "adult material." He was found guilty based on the fact that he violated California's penal code 311.
2 by purposely distributing what was known as "obscene" material. Some people who have received the brochures that Miller sent complained that they did not request these brochures with sexual images on them. Miller was sent to trial and this case eventually reached the Supreme Court. The Case and the Decision The defense on Miller's side was that the obscene material that he sent should be considered as something protected under the first amendment. This resulted in a legal question: Was the sale and distribution of obscene materials by mail protected under the First Amendment's freedom of speech guaranteed? Well, according to the ruling of the Supreme Court, no, it was not. They stated that 'obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment.' This was a unique case that the Supreme Court encountered at the time, thus, they created the Miller Test for determining what was considered obscene.
What exactly is the Miller Test? This test determined if a specific material or matter is considered obscene. It used 3 conditions to determine the obscenity of something: o the average person, applying contemporary community standards (not national standards, as some prior tests required), must find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; o the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable state law; and o the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, scientific, or political value. If such a thing is constituted by these 3 conditions, then it was considered obscene. Results and / or consequences of this case Not only did this case cause the bringing about of the Miller Test, but Miller provided states greater freedom in prosecuting cases of obscenity. Most of the courts agreed on a definition of 'obscenity', which means that they accepted the Miller Test as a valid one. Ever since the Miller case, many localities have cracked down on adult theaters and bookstores, as well as adult nude bars through restrictive zoning ordinances and public nudity laws.
These types of actions have been upheld by the Supreme Court.