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.
This is the untold story of the most celebrated part of the Constitution. Until the twentieth century, few Americans called the first ten constitutional amendments drafted by James Madison in 1789 and ratified by the states in 1791 the Bill of Rights. Even more surprising, when people finallystarted doing so between the Spanish-American War and World War II, the Bill of Rights was usually invoked to justify increasing rather than restricting the authority of the federal government. President Franklin D. Roosevelt played a key role in that development, first by using the Bill of Rightsto justify the expansion of national regulation under the New Deal, and then by transforming the Bill of Rights into a patriotic rallying cry against Nazi Germany. It was only after the Cold War began that the Bill of Rights took on its modern form as the most powerful symbol of the limits ongovernment power.These are just some of the revelations about the Bill of Rights in Gerard Magliocca's The Heart of the Constitution. For example, we are accustomed to seeing the Bill of Rights at the end of the Constitution, but Madison wanted to put them in the middle of the document. Why was his plan rejected andwhat impact did that have on constitutional law? Today we also venerate the first ten amendments as the Bill of Rights, but many Supreme Court opinions say that only the first eight or first nine amendments. Why was that and why did that change?The Bill of Rights that emerges from Magliocca's fresh historical examination is a living text that means something different for each generation and reflects the great ideas of the Constitution - individual freedom, democracy, states' rights, judicial review, and national power in time ofcrisis.
The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution were written to safeguard individual liberties and limit government power. Was the Bill of Rights necessary, or did it open up a can of worms the framers didn't intend? Throughout the course of U.S. history, amendments have been subject to various interpretations, often to the point of contention. In this informative anthology, readers will be exposed to the complex issues of interpreting a document that was created more than two hundred years ago.