• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

A comprehensive guide to effective participation in the public debate about our most indispensable right: freedom of expression

Encouraging readers to think critically about freedom of speech and expression and the diverse critical perspectives that challenge the existing state of the law, this text provides a comprehensive analysis of the historical and legal contexts of the First Amendment, from its early foundations all the way to censorship on the Internet. Throughout the book, authors Douglas M. Fraleigh and Joseph S. Tuman use the “Marketplace of Ideas” metaphor to help readers visualize a world where the exchange of ideas is relatively unrestrained and self-monitored.

The text provides students with the opportunity to read significant excerpts of landmark decisions and to think critically about the issues and controversies raised in these cases. Students will appreciate the treatment of contemporary issues, including free speech in a post-9/11 world, free expression in cyberspace, and First Amendment rights on college campuses.

Features:

Demystifies free speech law, encouraging readers to grapple with the complexities of significant ethical and legal issues; Sparks student interest in “big picture” issues while simultaneously covering important foundational material, including incitement, fighting words, true threats, obscenity, indecency, child pornography, hate speech, time place and manner restrictions, symbolic expression, restrictions on the Internet, and terrorism.; Includes significant excerpts from landmark freedom of expression cases, including concurring or dissenting opinions where applicable, to help students become active learners of free expression rights; Offers critical analysis and alternative perspectives on free expression doctrines to demonstrate that existing doctrine is not necessarily ideal or immutable; Includes a global perspective on free expression including a chapter on international and comparative perspectives that helps students see how the values of different cultures influence judicial decisions

Obscenity and Child Pornography
Obscenity and child pornography

“My ancestors were Puritans from England, [who] arrived here in 1648 in the hope of finding greater restrictions than were permissible under English law at the time.”

—Garrison Keillor1

In the context of freedom of speech, obscenity comprises expression that appeals to the prurient (erotic) interest. The question of whether such speech should be protected by the First Amendment was highly controversial in the second half of the twentieth century, and continues to be so to this day.2 Given the diversity of opinion about sexual morality in the United States, the controversy should come as no surprise. Obscene speech has been characterized as having low value and no worth in the marketplace of ideas. Such expression has also been argued ...

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