The Fight for Free Speech: Ten Cases That Define Our First Amendment Freedoms

New York Univ. Feb. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781479801565. $27.95. LAW
Media attorney Rosenberg offers an accessible explanation of the right to free speech, chronicling recent news accounts that involve the First Amendment, then describing relevant Supreme Court cases. At the Women’s March of 2017, Madonna stated that she had thought about blowing up the White House. Though she was legally entitled to say so, Rosenberg notes that a century ago, she would have been arrested; Abrams v. United States in 1919 upheld the conviction of Russian Jewish anarchists who had distributed anti-U.S. leaflets. Parkland students were able to organize a nationwide student walkout in part because of Tinker v. Des Moines, which in 1969 recognized high school students’ rights to protest the Vietnam War by wearing black armbands. Tackling everything from former NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem to the Westboro Baptist Church’s picketing of funerals of gay people, the author provides ample historical context.
VERDICT Rosenberg presents challenging, provocative material in an engaging manner that will have readers pondering these issues. Anyone interested in the history of free speech and the Supreme Court will enjoy this extensively researched book.
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