Freeing Speech: The Constitutional War over National Security

Overview

The United States is in the midst of a heated conversation over how the Constitution impacts national security. In a traditional reading of the document, America uses military force only after a full and informed national debate. However, modern presidents have had unparalleled access to the media as well as control over the information most relevant to these debates, which jeopardizes the abilities of a democracy’s citizens to fully participate in the discussion. In Freeing Speech, John Denvir targets this issue...

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Freeing Speech: The Constitutional War over National Security

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Overview

The United States is in the midst of a heated conversation over how the Constitution impacts national security. In a traditional reading of the document, America uses military force only after a full and informed national debate. However, modern presidents have had unparalleled access to the media as well as control over the information most relevant to these debates, which jeopardizes the abilities of a democracy’s citizens to fully participate in the discussion. In Freeing Speech, John Denvir targets this issue of presidential dominance and proposes an ambitious solution: a First Amendment that makes sure the voices of opposition are heard.

Denvir argues that the First Amendment’s goal is to protect the entire structure of democratic debate, even including activities ancillary to the dissemination of speech itself. Assessing the right of political association, the use of public streets and parks for political demonstrations, the press’ ability to comment on public issues, and presidential speech on national security, Denvir examines why this democratic model of free speech is essential at all times, but especially during the War on Terror.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Denvir is one of our most lucid and inspiring writers on the constitutional law questions of today. He boldly confronts our most dangerous problems, such as the limitless national security powers of today’s presidents, without the usual pretense that the Framers somehow handed down the answer. Instead, Denvir asks us as citizens to find or frame a contemporary constitutional limit to such dangerous power.”
-Charles A. Reich,author of The Greening of America

“Denvir joins an analysis of the ‘National Security Presidency’ with an examination of the current state of free speech law to offer provocative suggestions for a First Amendment for our time, one that would provide us today with the information we need to govern ourselves.”
-Mark Tushnet,William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814744352
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2012
  • Pages: 204
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

John Denvir is the Research Professor of Constitutional Policy at the University of San Francisco. He is author of Democracy’s Constitution: Claiming the Privileges of American Citizenship and Legal Reelism: Movies as Legal Texts.

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