The First Amendment's language leaves no room for inference that abridgments of speech and press can be made just because they are slight. That Amendment provides, in simple words, that "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." I read "no law . . . abridging" to mean no law abridging.
One question that remains is at what point an individual Net poster has the right to assume prerogatives that have traditionally been only the province of journalists and news-gathering organizations. When the Pentagon Papers landed on the doorstep of the New York Times , the newspaper was able to publish under the First Amendment's guarantees of freedom of speech, and to make a strong argument in court that publication was in the public interest. ... the amplification inherent in the combination of the Net's high-speed communications and the size of the available population has greatly changed the balance of power.
[B]y requiring that an execution be relatively painless, we necessarily protect the inmate from enduring any punishment that is comparable to the suffering inflicted on his victim. This trend, while appropriate and required by the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, actually undermines the very premise on which public approval of the retribution rationale is based.john paul stevens
What distinguishes us from all other nations is the range and depth of the First Amendment's expressive individual liberties against government control of what we say and think. Having researched and written about it for more than 50 years, I can attest that the most compelling readable account of its tumultuous and often imperiled history is the newly published Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment by Anthony Lewis.
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