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.
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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