Paul Robert Cohen was arrested and sentenced to 30 days imprisonment in 1968 for wearing a jacket which read "Fuck the Draft" into a California courthouse. Appealing to the United States Supreme Court, Cohen claimed that his First Amendment rights to freedom of expression had been violated. In a landmark decision, the Court found that states cannot universally criminalize the use of expletives in public, with five justices in the majority opinion and four justices dissenting. This paper examines the link between communication theory and jurisprudence by using Kenneth Burke's dramatistic pentad to compare the two opinions as competing dramas.

Document Type


Student Type


Department, Program, or Center

Department of Communication (CLA)


RIT – Main Campus

Publication Date



Twenty-Seventh Kearse Distinguished Lecture Award Recipient

Award in Communication

College: Liberal Arts

Program: Professional and Technical Communication

Course: Senior Thesis in Communication

Professor: Bruce Austin and Grant Cos

The Kearse awards recognize students who have written the most outstanding research papers or projects in areas of study in the College of Liberal Arts. There is one faculty-nominated awardee from each COLA department. Henry J. and Mary Geirin Kearse, lifelong advocates of education, endowed the award.

Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2013.