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The First Amendment and Freedom of Speech in America

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Publication Date: September 1977

Publisher(s): Heritage Foundation (Washington, D.C.)

Author(s): Samuel T. Francis

Topic: Human rights (Civil and political rights)
Law and ethics (Constitutional law)

Keywords: Legal issues

Type: Report


It would appear from the above review that federal legislation prohibiting or controlling the distribution of obscene materials is in keeping with the long-standing traditions of American Constitutional law. Such legislation may be open to other criticism: it cannot be adequately enforced; it requires too much of the time and effort of local or federal police agencies; it is inconsistent with the movement toward an open society that the United States has experienced in the recent past. But these are pragmatic considerations, and in the last case, a question of social and political philosophy. As such, they are separate from and independent of the more narrow question of the meaning of the First Amendment for the future of public morality and national security.