Defending the First: Commentary on First Amendment Issues and Cases, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Defending the First

Commentary on First Amendment Issues and Cases, 1st Edition

Edited by Joseph Russomanno


456 pages

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Defending the First provides a collection of new perspectives on the First Amendment in legal and communication contexts. Editor Joseph Russomanno brings together a roster of major figures who have participated in the shaping of First Amendment law over the past 30 years. Readers are taken into a realm of personal experience and analysis through the stories of these attorneys at the forefront of the battle to defend the "First." The contributors to this volume--all of whom have argued cases before the Supreme Court--tell about their experiences appearing before the highest court in the United States. Some write many years after being there, while others offer insights from a more recent vantage point. One Supreme Court Attorney offers a historical analysis of a case replete with a variety of First Amendment issues.

This work contributes to a deeper understanding of First Amendment issues and the types of expression that the First Amendment protects, and why these rights must be protected. In addition, it provides readers with the unique perspective of those who have been on the front lines of some of the most important and influential cases in this era. The challenges of presenting an argument in this venue become clear, and it is evident that understanding one's own case, its lineage, and its likely impact all become part of the formula for success.

This distinctive collection provides personal and compelling insights into the making of communication law, and it will be engaging reading for students in communication law courses. It will also appeal to any reader interested in First Amendment law.


"All nine of the chapters by different lawyers are interesting….takes the readers on a fascinating legal journey through thorny legal questions….The book is well footnoted and includes a four page alphabetized Table of Cases. It would be an excellent supplemental reader for communications , media law, and media history cases….a valuable scholarly addition"

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Table of Contents

Contents: N. Strossen, Foreword. Preface. J.A. Barron, Creating a New First Amendment Right: Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo and the Story of Access to the Media. E.C. Rothenberg, Whose First Amendment? Cohen v. Cowles Media Co. D. Johnston, Freedom of Speech: A Casualty of War. M. Heins, The "Miracle" of Burstyn v. Wilson. E.J. Cleary, Suppressing Hateful Ideas by Force of Law: Reflections on R.A.V. v. St. Paul and Virginia v. Black. R.A. Smolla, Anatomy of an Oral Argument. B.S. Rogow, A First Amendment Life. P.M. Smith, The First Amendment in the Age of the Internet: The U.S. Supreme Court Takes on the Challenge of a New Communication Medium. J.B. Morris, Jr., The Past, Present, and Future of Internet Censorship and Free Speech Advocacy.

About the Series

Routledge Communication Series

The Routledge Communication Series covers the breadth of the communication discipline, from interpersonal communication to public relations, offering textbooks, handbooks, and scholarly reference materials.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies
LAW / Communications
LAW / Media & the Law