Bond v. Floyd

(1966)

Argued on November 10, 1966, and decided on December 5, 1966, the case of Bond v. Floyd is probably best known for its result: stopping the Georgia House of Representatives from refusing to seat Julian Bond, an elected representative, based on his opposition to the Vietnam War. However, its import far outstrips its result. The opinion holds that legislators enjoy all of the First Amendment protections that citizens enjoy, including the right to dissent, and that their exercise of those rights allows constituents to know whether they are properly representing the constituents’ interests. The U.S Supreme Court’s conception of the role of the First Amendment in fostering a healthy relationship between legislator and constituent led to its judgment that legislatures are not allowed to refuse to seat a dissenter merely because the other members of the legislature do not like what the dissenting legislator says. This opinion guaranteed that candidates for office and elected...

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Vietnam War protest in front of the White House (Library of Congress)

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