The Soul of the First Amendment

By Floyd Abrams
A lively and controversial overview by the nation's most celebrated First Amendment lawyer of the unique protections for freedom of speech in America

The right of Americans to voice their beliefs without government approval or oversight is protected under what may well be the most honored and least understood addendum to the US Constitution--the First Amendment. Floyd Abrams, a noted lawyer and award-winning legal scholar specializing in First Amendment issues, examines the degree to which American law protects free speech more often, more intensely, and more controversially than is the case anywhere else in the world, including democratic nations such as Canada and England. In this lively, powerful, and provocative work, the author addresses legal issues from the adoption of the Bill of Rights through recent cases such as Citizens United. He also examines the repeated conflicts between claims of free speech and those of national security occasioned by the publication of classified material such as was contained in the Pentagon Papers and was made public by WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden.


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Floyd Abrams is the greatest free speech advocate of modern times he is to the First Amendment what Muhammad Ali was to boxing and his book explaining and defending the First Amendment s soul, like his advocacy, is elegant, concise, and profoundly persuasive. Rodney A. Smolla, Dean, Delaware Law School --Rodney A. Smolla"
"Floyd Abrams is one of America's greatest constitutional lawyers and defenders of the First Amendment. In this inspiring book, he reminds us why it's important to protect the speech we hate even on platforms where the First Amendment doesn't formally apply--from tech platforms to college campuses--and why the future of democracy depends on our willingness to resist growing calls from all sides to suppress unpopular speech."--Jeffrey Rosen, author of Louis D. Brandeis: American Prophet--Jeffrey Rosen
This book provides a powerful, much needed response to mounting criticism of the robust freedom of speech enshrined in US culture and law. Individuals from many sectors of our society that have traditionally championed free speech including academics, students, writers, and liberals/progressives have increasingly advocated curbs on speech by certain disfavored speakers or that conveys certain disfavored messages. Abrams convincingly shows the adverse consequences of such an approach, with examples from other countries as well as US history. While fairly recognizing that speech can and does cause harm to individuals and society, he demonstrates that government censorship causes immeasurably greater harm. Nadine Strossen, Former President, American Civil Liberties Union--Nadine Strossen"



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About the Hardcover

Publisher Yale University Press
Publish date 04/25/2017
Pages 176
ISBN-13 9780300190885
ISBN-10 0300190883
Language English