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New Books on Constitutional Law
Commercial Speech As Free Expression: The Case for First Amendment Protection by
Call Number: KF4772 .R43 2021
For many years, commercial speech was summarily excluded from First Amendment protection, without reason or logic. Starting in the mid-1970s, the Supreme Court began to extend protection but it remained strictly limited. In recent years, that protection has expanded, but both Court and scholars have refused to consider treating commercial speech as the First Amendment equivalent of traditionally protected expressive categories such as political speech or literature. Commercial Speech as Free Expression stands as the boldest statement yet for extending full First Amendment protection to commercial speech by proposing a new, four-part synthesis of different perspectives on the manner in which free expression fosters and protects expressive values. This book explains the complexities and subtleties of how the equivalency principle would function in real-life situations. The key is to recognize that as a matter of First Amendment value, commercial speech deserves treatment equivalent to that received by traditionally protected speech.
In Contempt: Defending Free Speech, Defeating HUAC by
Call Number: KF221.C55 Y45 2022
"YOU ARE HEREBY COMMANDED to be and appear before the Committee on Un-American Activities of the House of Representatives of the United States, or a duly appointed subcommittee thereof, on February 10 (Monday), 1958, at ten o'clock a.m. at City Council Chambers, City Hall, Gary, Indiana, then and there to testify touching matters of inquiry committed to said committee, and not to depart without leave of said committee." So began a decade of hardship for Ed and Jean Yellin and their three young children as the repressive weight of the U.S. government, caught up in the throes of McCarthyism, crashed down upon their careers, their daily household budget, and their relationships to colleagues, neighbors, and their country. In Contempt is a faithful, factual testament to the enduring quality of patriotic dissent in our evolving democracy-and a loving reconstruction of what it meant to be labeled "unAmerican" for defending the Constitution.
The Mind of the Censor and the Eye of the Beholder: The First Amendment and the Censor's Dilemma by
Call Number: KF4770 .C67 2021
Beginning in the nineteenth century with Anthony Comstock, America's 'censor in chief,' The Mind of the Censor and the Eye of the Beholder explores how censors operate and why they wore out their welcome in society at large. This book explains how the same tactics were tried and eventually failed in the twentieth century, with efforts to censor music, comic books, television, and other forms of popular entertainment. The historic examples illustrate not just the mindset and tactics of censors, but why they are the ultimate counterculture warriors and why, in free societies, censors never occupy the moral high ground. This book is for anyone who wants to know more about why freedom of speech is important and how protections for free expression became part of the American identity.
A Right to Lie? : Presidents, Other Liars, and the First Amendment by
Call Number: KF4772 .R677 2021
In A Right to Lie?, legal scholar Catherine J. Ross addresses the urgent issue of whether the nation's highest officers, including the president, have a right to lie under the Speech Clause, no matter what damage their falsehoods cause. Does freedom of expression protect even factual falsehoods? If so, are lies by candidates and public officials protected? And is there a constitutional path, without violating the First Amendment, to stop a president whose persistent lies endanger our lives and our democracy? Perhaps counter-intuitively, the general answer to each question is "yes." Drawing from dramatic court cases about defamers, proponents of birtherism, braggarts, and office holders, Ross reveals the almost insurmountable constitutional and practical obstacles to legal efforts to rein in public deception. She explains the rules that govern the treatment of lies, while also demonstrating the incalculable damage presidential mendacity may lead to, as revealed in President Trump's lies about the COVID-19 pandemic and the legitimacy of the 2020 election. Falsehoods have been at issue in every presidential impeachment proceeding from Nixon to Trump. But, until now, no one has analyzed why public lies might be impeachable offenses, and whether the First Amendment would provide a defense. Noting that speech by public employees does not receive the same First Amendment protection as the speech of ordinary citizens, Ross proposes the constitutionally viable solution of treating presidents as public employees who work for the people. Charged with oversight of the Executive, Congress may--and should--put future presidents on notice that material lies to the public on substantial matters will be deemed a "high crime and misdemeanor" subject to censure and even impeachment. A Right to Lie? explains how this approach could work if the political will were in place.