Vermont Supreme Court Hears Free Speech Appeal Of Man Who Spread KKK Fliers

Mar 8, 2017

Free speech versus disorderly conduct was one of several issues presented in front of the Supreme Court of Vermont at the Vermont Law School on Wednesday.

Last year, the state charged William Schenck with disorderly conduct after he spread KKK recruitment fliers to the homes of two women of color in Burlington.

Now, Mr. Shenck's attorney is appealing his conviction. On Wednesday, Rebecca Turner argued that Vermont's disorderly statute conduct only applies to physical behavior, and not speech.

Supreme Court Justice Beth Robinson questioned Shenck's lawyer on how the distinction is made.

“If we said that this statute is limited to areas of physical behavior, I take it the act of placing a flier in somebody's door is not physical conduct,” Justice Robinson said. “Does it have to be face to face?”

Five other high profile cases were appealed to the Supreme Court. Those issues ranged from embezzlement to local zoning regulations.

It may take the court up to a year to pen their final decision on the matter.