May It Please the Court: The First Amendment: Live Recordings and Transcripts of the Oral Arguments Made before the Supreme Court in Sixteen Key First Amendment Cases

May It Please the Court: The First Amendment: Live Recordings and Transcripts of the Oral Arguments Made before the Supreme Court in Sixteen Key First Amendment Cases

by Peter H. Irons
     
 

This sequel to the bestselling May It Please the Court focuses on key First Amendment cases illustrating the most controversial debates over issues of free speech, freedom of the press, and the right to assemble, including: Burnes v. Glen Theater (nude dancing), New York Times v. United States (the Pentagon Papers case), Texas v. Johnson

Overview

This sequel to the bestselling May It Please the Court focuses on key First Amendment cases illustrating the most controversial debates over issues of free speech, freedom of the press, and the right to assemble, including: Burnes v. Glen Theater (nude dancing), New York Times v. United States (the Pentagon Papers case), Texas v. Johnson (American flag burning), Brandenburg v. Ohio (hate speech by Klansmen), and Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell (“emotional distress” for parody advertisement).

The transcripts of actual oral arguments made before the Supreme Court identify the speakers and put the cases in context. They offer an unrivaled view of the Supreme Court in action that will interest anyone wanting firsthand exposure to American law and history.

Cases include: Abington School District v. Schempp (school prayer) County of Allegheny v. ACLU (nativity crèche and menorah display) Barnes v. Glen Theater, Inc. (nude dancing) Branzburg v. Hayes (reporters’ sources) Employment Division v. Smith (peyote) New York Times v. Sullivan (libel) New York Times v. United States (Pentagon Papers case) R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, Minnesota (cross burning) Texas v. Johnson (American flag burning) Tinker v. Des Moines (wearing black armbands in school) United States v. O’Brien (draft card burning)

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
The sequel to Irons's first look inside the Supreme Court offers edited versions of arguments addressing pivotal, controversial issues regarding the First Amendment.

Like the first volume, this is based on recordings of oral arguments, often by prominent lawyers such as Lawrence Tribe and William Kunstler, before the Supreme Court. These arguments are made in an atmosphere of high solemnity and drama. Through sophisticated, penetrating questioning, often leading to energetic dialogues with the arguing attorneys, the justices probe the strengths and weaknesses of the contending parties' respective legal arguments. As spoken constitutional history providing unique glimpses into the reasoning process of our highest court, oral arguments are worthy of serious study. Along with tape recordings of 16 First Amendment arguments (four 90-minute cassettes accompany the book, but were not available for previewing), Irons (Brennan vs. Rehnquist: The Battle for the Constitution, 1994, etc.; Political Science/Univ. of Calif., San Diego) provides a text consisting of excerpts from each argument, preceded by a summary of the particular legal issue involved and followed by an edited version of the court's written decision, as well as opinions by dissenting justices. The issues are well selected, covering many fascinating and momentous matters, including burning the American flag, nude dancing, hate speech, prayer in public schools, the meaning of obscenity, and Reverend Jerry Falwell's ultimately unsuccessful suit against Hustler magazine for printing a parody suggesting that Falwell once had intercourse with his mother in an outhouse.

The heavily edited arguments make lively and informative reading and should be welcome in the library of any university or law office; but the very brief prologues to each case and the book's three-page introduction provide scant background for laypersons unfamiliar with the perplexing intricacies of First Amendment jurisprudence.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781565843301
Publisher:
New Press, The
Publication date:
08/28/1997
Series:
May It Please the Court Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
262
Product dimensions:
7.13(w) x 10.17(h) x 1.82(d)

Meet the Author


Peter H. Irons is emeritus professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of numerous books on the Supreme Court and constitutional litigation, including Jim Crow’s Children: The Broken Promise of the Brown Decision and A People’s History of the Supreme Court. He is a co-editor of May It Please the Court: The Most Significant Oral Arguments Made Before the Supreme Court Since 1955 (with Stephanie Guitton), May It Please the Court: The First Amendment: Live Recordings and Transcripts of the Oral Arguments Made Before the Supreme Court in Sixteen Key First Amendment Cases, and May It Please the Court: Courts, Kids, and the Constitution: Live Recordings and Transcripts of Sixteen Supreme Court Oral Arguments on the Constitutional Rights of Students and Teachers, all published by The New Press. He has also contributed to numerous law reviews and other journals. He was chosen in 1988 as the first Raoul Wallenberg Distinguished Visiting Professor of Human Rights at Rutgers University. He has been invited to lecture on constitutional law and civil liberties at the law schools of Harvard, Yale, Berkeley, and Stanford and at more than twenty other schools. In addition to his academic work, Irons has been active in public affairs. He is a practicing civil rights and liberties attorney and was lead counsel in the 1980s in the successful effort to reverse the World War II criminal convictions of Japanese Americans who had challenged the curfew and relocation orders. He was also elected to two terms on the national board of the American Civil Liberties Union.

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