Cover of Floyd Abrams: Soul of the First Amendment

Floyd Abrams Soul of the First Amendment

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Yale University Press


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The nation's most celebrated First Amendment lawyer';explores the American right to free speech in this thoughtful and concise volume' (Publishers Weekly). 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 Constitutionthe 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 asCitizens 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 thePentagon Papersand was made public by WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden. ';Abrams's engaging and plain-spoken reflections will be of interest to those already steeped in constitutional law as well as young readers curious about the nation's founding ideals . . . For Abrams, one inescapable truth applies across the history of First Amendment disputes. To allow the government to determine whose speech can be regulated . . . is, as [his] fascinating history shows, literally to play with fire.'The Wall Street Journal ';He dives into historic and contemporary controversies that test our adherence to these principles, noting, ';Speech is sometimes ugly, outrageous, even dangerous.''The Washington Post

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