The Fight for Free Speech
Ten Cases That Define Our First Amendment Freedoms
Published by: NYU Press
320 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 x 0.00 mm
- ISBN: 9781479801565
- Published: February 2021
A user’s guide to understanding contemporary free speech issues in the United States
Americans today are confronted by a barrage of questions relating to their free speech freedoms. What are libel laws, and do they need to be changed to stop the press from lying? Does Colin Kaepernick have the right to take a knee? Can Saturday Night Live be punished for parody? While citizens are grappling with these questions, they generally have nowhere to turn to learn about the extent of their First Amendment rights.
The Fight for Free Speech answers this call with an accessible, engaging user’s guide to free speech. Media lawyer Ian Rosenberg distills the spectrum of free speech law down to ten critical issues. Each chapter in this book focuses on a contemporary free speech question—from student walkouts for gun safety to Samantha Bee’s expletives, from Nazis marching in Charlottesville to the muting of adult film star Stormy Daniels— and then identifies, unpacks, and explains the key Supreme Court case that provides the answers. Together these fascinating stories create a practical framework for understanding where our free speech protections originated and how they can develop in the future. As people on all sides of the political spectrum are demanding their right to speak and be heard, The Fight for Free Speech is a handbook for combating authoritarianism, protecting our democracy, and bringing an understanding of free speech law to all.
With verve and aplomb,The Fight for Free Speech reveals actual free speech conflicts on the ground along with the basic First Amendment law they engendered. It is a gift for citizenship. ~Donald A. Downs, Alexander Meiklejohn Professor of Political Science Emeritus, UW-Madison, and author of Free Speech and Liberal Education
The Fight for Free speech is a must read for anyone, of any age, to understand the stakes for the amendment America’s founders chose to put first, because without it representative democracy dies aborning. The magic of this book is that it is written with the clarity, concision and dynamism vital to make its lessons stick. It is simply a great read, and a powerful one. ~Brooke Gladstone, co-host of WNYC's On the Media
The Fight for Free Speech is an accessible but learned survey of the concepts upon which the Constitutional right to free speech rests. Its 10 chapters weave fascinating narratives about the people who stood up for free speech and the Supreme Court Justices who have struggled to understand how and where to delineate the lines that separate this precious freedom from behavior and language that can be prohibited. Rosenberg explores and contextualizes the signature tropes of free speech discourse including the market place of ideas, shouting fire in a crowded theater, rights that don’t stop at the schoolhouse door, prior restraint, the right to parody and hate speech in order to make our ongoing discourse more careful and accurate. The book is a perfect text for college courses in a variety of fields, including history, government, communication, and politics. It is also a challenging book for AP high school classes. Rosenberg beautifully combines the legal discussions with stories of contemporary examples, and leaves plenty of space to add new examples that will surely present themselves on a regular basis. It is guaranteed to start a discussion! ~Randall Iden, Faculty Director, Master of Science in Communication Program, Northwestern University
A deep dive into 10 precedent-setting legal actions that helped define the scope—and limits—of the First Amendment.... Essential reading for journalists, political activists, and ordinary citizens alike. ~Kirkus Reviews (starred)
The past greets the present in Ian Rosenberg’s captivating free speech stories. These true-to-life accounts invite readers to reflect on the value of liberty and the price of freedom. Rosenberg’s revealing narratives, based on ten seminal cases, are crafted with the finesse of a gifted writer combined with the acumen of a learned lawyer. Forceful yet thoughtful, credible yet concise, historical yet modern, engaging yet erudite -- they all tumble together in The Fight for Free Speech, a mind-opening book aptly fit for our times. ~Ronald K.L. Collins, editor of First Amendment News & co-author of We Must Not be Afraid to be Free.
The Fight for Free Speech is a wonderful guide to our free speech rights, serving as an engaging introduction for all readers, and as an illuminating source of insights even for those with expertise in First Amendment law. ~Nadine Strossen, Former President, American Civil Liberties Union, and author of HATE: Why We Should Resist it With Free Speech, Not Censorship
This book should be required reading for all engaged citizens. My colleague Ian Rosenberg puts vital information about the law in crisp, comprehensible language. You get a tour through history and a primer on your rights in this eminently useful and readable book. ~Dan Harris, co-anchor of the weekend edition of Good Morning America and #1 New York Times bestselling author of 10% Happier
The Fight For Free Speech is as clear as its title. In choosing ten areas of enormous conflict with respect to the scope of free expression and describing cases as to each in a manner that the widest range of readers can both understand and enjoy, Ian Rosenberg has done us all a great service. That this book should be released at a time when the First Amendment is under sustained attack makes it all the more valuable. ~Floyd Abrams, Senior Counsel, Cahill Gordon & Reindel, and author of The Soul of the First Amendment
Ian Rosenberg’s riveting portrayal of ten of the Supreme Court’s leading free speech cases is a page-turner! The Fight for Free Speech tells the gripping, behind-the-scenes stories of those whose visions and passion paved the way for their causes to be heard before our country’s High Court. ~Hon. Frederic Block, United States District Judge, and author of Crime & Punishments: Entering the Mind of a Sentencing Judge
Rosenberg presents challenging, provocative material in an engaging manner.... Anyone interested in the history of free speech and the Supreme Court will enjoy this extensively researched book. ~Library Journal
Using recent controversies about free expression as his starting point, Ian Rosenberg introduces general readers to classic problems that have defined the constitutional contours of freedom of expression. You don’t need a legal background to learn a great deal from The Fight for Free Speech. ~Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Harvard Law School