Congress shall make no law : the First Amendment, unprotected expression, and the Supreme Court

O'Brien, David M
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  • Creator David M. O'Brien ; [foreword by Ronald K.L. Collins]
  • Format Books
  • Contributors
  • Publication Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield, [2010] ©2010
  • Series
  • Physical Details
    • xiii, 136 pages ; 23 cm
  • ISBNs 1442205105, 9781442205109, 1442205121, 9781442205123
  • OCLC ocn634739886


  • The First Amendment declares "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." Yet, Congress and the states have sought repeatedly to curb these freedoms. The Supreme Court of the United States in turn gradually expanded First Amendment protection for freedom of expression but also defined certain categories of expression: obscenity, defamation, commercial speech, and disruptive expression-as constitutionally unprotected. From the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798 to the most recent cases to come before the Supreme Court, noted legal scholar David M. O'Brien provides the first comprehensive examination of these exceptions to the absolute command of the First Amendment.


  • Includes bibliographical references and index.


  • When "no law" doesn't mean "no law" -- Obscenity, pornography, and indecent expression -- Defamation and related harms -- Commercial speech -- "Fighting words, " provocative and disruptive expression -- Conclusion -- Appendix : Unprotected speech time line
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