Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary

Legal Dictionary Home

Roth V. United States (1957)

The U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court defined obscenity as that which "appeals to the prurient interest," and not merely as sexual material. The Court ruled that obscenity has no redeeming social importance and therefore is not entitled to First Amendment free speech protection. The Court also ruled that contemporary community standards should be used to judge whether something is obscene.