Freedom of Speech – Freedom of Press


“A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.”

~Albert Camus

“The power to mould the future of the Republic will be in the hands of the journalists of future generations.”

~Joseph Pulitzer

Freedom of Speech…

Freedom of Press


Billy bob Bramscher


I.  Introduction

II.  History

III.  Threats & Harassment

IV.  Larry Claxton Flynt, Jr.

A.  Freedom of Speech & Press

B.  Right to petition government for redress of grievances

V.  Conclusion

VI.  Resources


“The First Amendment to the United States Federal Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits Congress from making laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion, infringing on the freedom of speech and/or infringing on the freedom of the press. In the 20th century, the Supreme Court held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applies the First Amendment to each state, including any local government.”


The First Amendment is one of the most formidable sources of American Civil Liberties.  It includes several guarantees, of which the most important are the “Freedom of Speech” and the “Freedom of Press”.  Freedom of Speech and of the Press is a constitutional guaranty under the First Amendment, and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, to the Constitution of the United States and provisions in many state constitutions, embracing the concept that free discussion is essential to the growth, development, and wellbeing of our free society under a democratic form of government (See N.A.A.C.P. v. Button, 371 US 415, 435, 9 L Ed 2d 405, 419, 83 S Ct 328 (01/14/1963)Associated Press v. United States, 326 US 1, 20, 89 L Ed 2013, 2030, 65 S Ct 1416 (06/18/45)Parsons v. Age-Herald Publishing Co, 181 ALA 439, 450,461, So 345, 350 (1913)).

The Sedition Act of 1798, 1 Stat 596, which first crystallized a national awareness of the central meaning of the First Amendment, the invalidity of the act has been assumed by justices of the Supreme Court, and these views reflect a broad consensus that the act, because of the restraint it imposed upon criticism of the government and public officials, was inconsistent with the First Amendment” (see Holmes, J., dissenting and joined by Brandeis, J, in Abrams v. United States, 250 U.S. 616 (1919); Douglas, The Right of the People (1958) p47; Cooley, Constitutional Limitations (8thEd, Carrington, 1927) pp 899-900; Chafee, Free Speech in the United States (1942) pp 27-28; Levy, Legacy of Suppression (1960) p258 et seq; Smiths, Freedom Fetters (1956) p426 & 431; Lillian R. Bevier, The Issue of Advocacy:  An Economic, Political, and Constitutional Analysis (1999).


While some threats have no First Amendment protections, other threats are protected speech.  In Aguilar v. People, the Supreme Court of Colorado recognized that “Constitutionally protected speech may be threatening” (886 P2d 725, 728 (Colo 1994).  Citing People v. Janousek, 871 P2d 1189 04/04/84, “The critical inquiry for First Amendment purposes is whether the statements, viewed in the context in which they were spoken or written, constitute a “True Threat” (see also Watts v. United States, 394 US at 708 (1969); United States v. Welch, 745 F2d614, 618 (10th Cir 1984) cert denied, 470 US 1006, 84 L Ed 2d 384, 105 S Ct 1364 (1985); United States v. Dysart, 705 P2d1247, 1256 (10th Cir, cert denied 464 US 934, 78 L Ed 2d 307, 104 S Ct 339 (1983) “True threat is a serious threat, as opposed to mere political argument, talk, or jest” and “the critical inquiry is whether those who hear or read the threat reasonably consider that an actual threat has been made.”

Citing People v. Weeks, 591 P2.d 91 (1979) “Although each case ultimately must defend on its own specific facts, some general principles have emerged.  A state or municipality may protect individual privacy by enacting reasonable time, place, and manner regulations applicable to all speech irrespective of content (see Kovacs v. Cooper, 336 U.S. 77, 97 (1949); Cox v Louisiana, 379 US 356, 554, 13 L Ed 2d 471, 85 S Ct 453 (1965); Adderly v. Florida, 385 US 39, 17 L Ed 2d 149, 87 S Ct 242 (1966)).  But when the government, acting as censor, undertakes selectively to shield the public from some kinds of speech on the ground that they are more offensive than others, the First {591 P2d 96} Amendment strictly limits its powers (see Police Dept of Chicago v. Mosely, 408 US 92, 33 L Ed 2d 212, 92 S Ct 2286 (1972); Fowler v. Rhode Island, 345 US 67, 97 L Ed 828, 73 S Ct526 (1953); Kovacs v. Cooper, Id at 97 (Jackson, J. concurring).

Such selective restrictions have been upheld only when the speaker intrudes on the privacy of the home (see Rowan v Post Office Dept., 397 US 728, 25 L Ed 2d 736, 90 S Ct 1484 (1970)), or the degree of captivity makes it impractical for the unwilling viewer or auditor to avoid exposure.  As Mr. Justice Harlan cautioned:  “The ability of government, [consonant] with the constitution, to shut off discourse solely to protect others from hearing it is…dependent upon a showing that substantial privacy interests are being invaded in an essentially intolerable manner.  Any broader view of this authority would effectively empower a majority to silent dissidents simply as a matter of personal predilections.”  (see Cohen v. California, 403 US 15, at 21, 29 L Ed 2d 284, 91 S Ct 1780 (1971); Erznoznik v. City of Jacksonville, 422 U.S. 205, 209-210, 95 S Ct 2268, 45 L Ed 2d 125 (1975)).

Citing FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, 438 U.S. 726, 57 L Ed 2d 1073, 98 S Ct 3026 (1978), “The fact that society may find speech offensive is not sufficient reason for suppressing it.  Indeed, if it is the speaker’s opinion that gives offense, that consequence is a reason for according it constitutional protection.  {485 US 56} For it is a central tenet of the First Amendment that the government must remain neutral in the market place of ideas” and citing Street v. New York, 394 U.S. 576, 592, 22 L Ed 2.d 572, 895 Ct. 1354 (1969), “It is firmly settled that…the public expression of ideas may not be prohibited merely because the ideas are themselves offensive to some of their hearers.”

Citing Street v. New York, supra, “It is firmly settled…the public expression of ideas may not be prohibited merely because the ideas themselves are offensive to some of their hearers.”  Citing FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, supra, “[T]he fact that society may find speech offensive is not a sufficient reason for suppressing it.  Indeed, if it is the speaker’s opinion that gives offense that consequence is a reason for according it constitutional protection {485 US 56} for it is a central tenet of the First Amendment that the government must remain neutral in the marketplace of ideas.”


Born Larry Claxton Flynt, Jr., on November 1, 1942, in the Appalachian village of Lakeville, Kentucky, bec[o]ming one of the world’s most well-known publishers of pornography and unlikely champion of civil liberties. With the publication of his flagship magazine, Hustler, Flynt set off a firestorm, dragging into the eventual fray Jerry Falwell and the Supreme Court of the United States.


“The first time Rev. Jerry Falwell put his hands on me, I was stunned. Not only had we been archenemies for 15 years, his beliefs and mine traveling in different solar systems, and not only had he sued me for $50 million (a case I lost repeatedly yet eventually won in the Supreme Court), but now he was hugging me in front of millions on the Larry King show.”  ~Larry Flynt

Contributions by Larry Claxton Flynt, Jr.:

A.  Freedom of Speech & Press

The right to criticize public officials (see New York Times Co v. Sullivan, 376 US 254, 273, II L Ed 2d 686, 84 S Ct 710 (1964)) and to petition the government for a redress of grievances protected activities (see United Mine Workers v. Illinois State Bar Ass’n, 389 US 217, 222, 19 L Ed 2d 426, 88 S Ct 353 (1967)); see Connick v. Myers, 461 US 138, 75 L Ed 2d 708, 103 S Ct 1684 (1983) (“public concern”) whereas “The First Amendment was fashioned to assure unfettered interchange of ideas for the bringing about of political and social changes desired by the people,” Id. at 145 (see also Roth v. United States, 354 US 476, 484, 1 L Ed 2d 1498, 77 S Ct 1304, 14 OHIO Ops 2d 331 (1957)).

Citing New York Times v. Sullivan, supra, “Injury to official reputation affords no more warrant for repressing speech that would otherwise be free than does factual error.  Where judicial officers are involved, [the US Supreme Court] has held that concern for the dignity and reputation of the courts does not justify the punishment {376 U.S. 273} as criminal contempt of criticism of the judge or his decision.

Citing Hustler Magazine & Larry C. Flynt v. Jerry Falwell, 485 US 46, 99 L Ed 2d 41, 108 S Ct 876 [no 86-1278] 02/24/88, “Justice Frankfurter put it succinctly in Baumgartner v. United States, 522 U.S. 655, 673-674, 88 L Ed 1525, 64 S Ct 1240 (1944), when he said that “[O]ne of the prerogatives of American Citizenship is the right to criticize public men and measures.”  Such criticism, inevitably, will not always be reasoned or moderate; public figures as well as public officials will be subject to “Vehement, Casuistic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks.”  “[T]he candidate who vaunts his spotless record and sterling integrity cannot convincingly cry ‘foul’ when an opponent or an industrious reporter attempts {485 US 52} to demonstrate the contrary.  (see also Monitor Patriot Co v. Roy (1971)).

Citing Hustler Magazine & Larry C. Flynt,  supra, “But in the world of debate about public affairs, many things done with motives that are less than admirable are protected by the First Amendment.  In Garrison v. Louisiana, 379 US 64, 13 L Ed 2d 125, 85 S Ct 209 (1964), [the Supreme Court] held that even when a speaker or writer is motivated by hatred or ill-will his expression [is] protected by the First Amendment.”

Citing United States Postal Service v. Hustler Magazine, 630 F. Supp. 867 (1986), “However, the special privacy rights enjoyed inside the home—emphasized by both Congress in enacting and the Supreme Court in reviewing § 3008—do not apply where, as here, the mailing is sent to the office of a Member of Congress. We recognize that the right to be let alone, what Justice Holmes called “the right most valued by civilized men,” Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 478, 48 S.Ct. 564, 572, 72 L.Ed. 944 (1928) (Holmes, J., dissenting), does not necessarily vanish when one steps outside one’s front door. See Public Utilities Commission v. Pollak, 343 U.S. 451, 467, 72 S.Ct. 813, 823, 96 L.Ed. 1068 (1952) (Douglas, J., dissenting). However, this privacy right is less absolute when asserted outside the home. See Erznoznik, 422 U.S. at 209 n. 4, 95 S.Ct. at 2272 n. 4 (individual privacy is entitled to greater protection in the home than in the streets); Public Utilities Commission v. Pollak, 342 U.S. at 463-65, 72 S. Ct. at 821-22 (holding that radio programs on public streetcars do not violate passengers’ privacy rights). Defendants have not sent and do not propose to send copies of Hustler to the home of each Member of Congress. By seeking to mail their magazine to the Member’s office instead, defendants do not threaten the unique privacy interests that attach in the home.

B.  The Right to Petition the government for Grievances

Citing Hustler Magazine & Larry C. Flynt v. Jerry Falwell, 485 US 46, 99 L Ed 2d 41, 108 S Ct 876 [no 86-1278] 02/24/88, “The right to petition the Government is part of our heritage from earliest times and represents a cornerstone of our national liberty. It is a right long-recognized as implicit in ‘[t]he very idea of a government, republican in form’.”  See United States v. Cruikshank, 2 Otto 542, 552, 92 U.S. 542, 552, 23 L.Ed. 588 (1875).  As the Supreme Court noted in McDonald v. Smith, 472 U.S. 479, 105 S. Ct. 2787, 86 L.Ed.2d 384 (1985), the historical roots of the petition clause long antedate the Constitution. 472 U.S. 479, 105 S. Ct. at 2788. The English Bill of Rights of 1689, enacted after the Glorious Revolution of 1688, guaranteed “the right of the subjects to petition the King.” 1 Wm. & Mary, Sess. 2, ch. 2. The early colonists in Massachusetts included a petition clause in the Massachusetts Body of Liberties of 1641, “the first detailed American Charter of Liberties.” See 1 B. Schwartz, A Documentary History of the Bill of Rights 69, 73 (1971). During the Revolutionary period, the right to petition was again raised as an essential ingredient of self-government in both the Stamp Act Congress’ Declaration of Rights and Grievances of 1765 and the Declarations and Resolves of the First Continental Congress of 1774. See 1 Schwartz at 198, 217. Now guaranteed by the First Amendment, the right to petition “is cut from the same cloth as the other guarantees of that Amendment, and is an assurance of a particular freedom of expression.” McDonald, ___ U.S. at ___, 105 S.Ct. at 2788; see Thomas v. Collins, 323 U.S. 516, 530, 65 S.Ct. 315, 322-23, 89 L.Ed. 430 (1945) (right to petition inseparable from other First Amendment rights). Accordingly, courts have protected this right when its existence has arisen in varied contexts, from prisons, Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319, 321, 92 S.Ct. 1079, 1081, 31 L.Ed.2d 263 (1972), to state capitols, Edwards v. South Carolina, 372 U.S. 229, 235, 83 S.Ct. 680, 683, 9 L.Ed.2d 697 (1963).  And they have protected this right in varied forms, from peaceful boycotts of private businesses, NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., 458 U.S. 886, 907-11, 102 S.Ct. 3409, 3422-25, 73 L.Ed.2d 1215 (1982), to appeals to one or all three branches of the Government, California Motor Transport Co. v. Trucking Unlimited, 404 U.S. 508, 510, 92 S.Ct. 609, 611-12, 30 L.Ed.2d 642 (1972).

Citing United States Postal Service v. Hustler Magazine, 630 F. Supp. 867 (1986), “While the right to petition Government is “among the most precious of the liberties safeguarded by the Bill of Rights,” United Mine Workers of America, supra, “we recognize that this right, like many rights, is not absolute but can be subject to reasonable limitations. Where the right to petition conflicts with other legitimate interests, for example, the Constitution permits some restraint.” A Quaker Action Group v. Morton, 516 F.2d 717, 725 (D.C. Cir.1975) (permits in Lafayette Park); cf. Clark v. Community for Creative Non-Violence, 468 U.S. 288, 104 S.Ct. 3065, 82 L.Ed.2d 221 (1984) (prohibition on camping in Lafayette Park). Furthermore, the right to petition Government does not guarantee the right to participate in Government. Minnesota Board for Community Colleges v. Knight, 465 U.S. 271, 104 S.Ct. 1058, 1065-66, 79 L.Ed.2d 299 (1984)(upholding statute prohibiting direct teacher involvement in academic governance); BiMetallic Investment Co. v. State Board of Equalization, 239 U.S. 441, 445, 36 S.Ct. 141, 142, 60 L.Ed. 372 (1915) (upholding increase in property valuation despite lack of public participation: “There must be a limit to individual argument in such matters if government is to go on”).


“The freedom to speak your mind. To worship. To pray without interference. To protest in peace. These rights are still protected by the First Amendment. The freedom to speak one’s mind on issues of the day, exercise religious beliefs, remain educated through a free press, associate with others and petition the government when you have been wronged is just as important today as it was in 1791. If our First Amendment protections are to remain intact, however, it will require courageous individuals who are willing to take a stand in defense of them.”  ~The Rutherford Institute


Schenck v. United States 249 u.s. 47 (1919)

Abrams v. United States 250 u.s. 616 (1919)

Gitlow v. People 268 u.s. 652 (1925)

Whitney v. California 274 u.s. 357 (1927)

Stromberg v. California 283 u.s. 359 (1931)

Near v. Minnesota 283 u.s. 697 (1931)

Grosjean v. American Press Co., Inc. 297 u.s. 233 (1936)

De Jonge v. Oregon 299 u.s. 353 (1937)

Hague v. Committee for Industrial Organization 307 u.s. 496 (1939)

Thornhill v. Alabama 310 u.s. 88 (1940)

Cantwell v. Connecticut 310 u.s. 296 (1940)

Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire 315 u.s. 568 (1942)

Marsh v. Alabama 326 u.s. 501 (1946)

American Communications Assn. v. Douds 339 u.s. 382 (1950)

Dennis v. United States 341 u.s. 494 (1951)

Adler v. Board of Education of City of New York 342 u.s. 485 (1952)

Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson 343 u.s. 495 (1952)

Watkins v. United States 354 u.s. 178 (1957)

Yates v. United States 354 u.s. 298 (1957)

Roth v. United States 354 u.s. 476 (1957)

Barenblatt v. United States 360 u.s. 109 (1959)

Communist Party of the United States v. Subversive Activities Control Bd. No. 12 367 u.s. 1 (1961)

Scales v. United States 367 u.s. 203 (1961)

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Button 371 u.s. 415 (1963)

Edwards v. South Carolina 372 u.s. 229 (1963)

New York Times Co. v. Sullivan 376 u.s. 254 (1964)

Jacobellis v. Ohio 378 u.s. 184 (1964)

Aptheker v. Secretary of State 378 u.s. 500 (1964)

Cox v. Louisiana 379 u.s. 536 (1965)

Cox v. Louisiana 379 u.s. 559 (1965)

Zemel v. Rusk 381 u.s. 1 (1965)

A Book Named “John Cleland’s Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure” v. Attorney General of Massachusetts 383 u.s. 413 (1966)

Bond v. Floyd 385 u.s. 116 (1966)

Keyishian v. Board of Regents 385 u.s. 589 (1967)

Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts 388 u.s. 130 (1967)

Amalgamated Food Employees Union Local 590 v. Logan Valley Plaza, Inc.391 u.s. 308 (1968)

United States v. O’Brien 391 u.s. 367 (1968)

Epperson v. Arkansas 393 u.s. 97 (1968)

Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School Dist. 393 u.s. 503 (1969)

Stanley v. Georgia 394 u.s. 557 (1969)

Street v. New York 394 u.s. 576 (1969)

Brandenburg v. Ohio 395 u.s. 444 (1969)

Rowan v. United States Post Office Department 397 u.s. 728 (1970)

Younger v. Harris 401 u.s. 37 (1971)

Cohen v. California 403 u.s. 15 (1971)

Rosenbloom v. Metromedia 403 u.s. 29 (1971)

New York Times Co. v. United States 403 u.s. 713 (1971)

Lloyd Corp., Ltd. v. Tanner 407 u.s. 551 (1972)

Police Dep’t v. Mosley 408 u.s. 92 (1972)

Grayned v. City of Rockford 408 u.s. 104 (1972)

Perry v. Sindermann 408 u.s. 593 (1972)

Branzburg v. Hayes 408 u.s. 665 (1972)

Miller v. California 413 u.s. 15 (1973)

Pittsburgh Press Co. v. Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations 413 u.s. 376 (1973)

Smith v. Goguen 415 u.s. 566 (1974)

Jenkins v. Georgia 418 u.s. 153 (1974)

Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo 418 u.s. 241 (1974)

Lehman v. City of Shaker Heights 418 u.s. 298 (1974)

Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. 418 u.s. 323 (1974)

Spence v. Washington 418 u.s. 405 (1974)

Bigelow v. Virginia 421 u.s. 809 (1975)

Buckley v. Valeo 424 u.s. 1 (1976)

Time, Inc. v. Firestone 424 u.s. 448 (1976)

Hudgens v. National Labor Relations Board 424 u.s. 507 (1976)

Greer v. Spock 424 u.s. 828 (1976)

Virginia State Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, Inc.425 u.s. 748 (1976)

Young v. American Mini Theatres, Inc. 427 u.s. 50 (1976)

Wooley v. Maynard 430 u.s. 705 (1977)

Linmark Associates, Inc. v. Township of Willingboro 431 u.s. 85 (1977)

Carey v. Population Services International 431 u.s. 678 (1977)

Bates v. State Bar of Arizona 433 u.s. 350 (1977)

In re Primus 436 u.s. 412 (1978)

Hutchinson v. Proxmire 443 u.s. 111 (1979)

Gannett Co., Inc. v. DePasquale 443 u.s. 368 (1979)

Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins 447 u.s. 74 (1980)

Central Hudson Gas & Elec. Corp. v. Public Service Comm’n 447 u.s. 557 (1980)

Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia 448 u.s. 555 (1980)

Schad v. Borough of Mount Ephraim 452 u.s. 61 (1981)

Heffron v. International Soc’y for Krishna Consciousness 452 u.s. 640 (1981)

Metromedia, Inc. v. City of San Diego 453 u.s. 490 (1981)

Widmar v. Vincent 454 u.s. 263 (1981)

Brown v. Hartlage 456 u.s. 45 (1982)

Globe Newspaper Co. v. Superior Court 457 u.s. 596 (1982)

Board of Educ. v. Pico 457 u.s. 853 (1982)

New York v. Ferber 458 u.s. 747 (1982)

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Claiborne Hardware Co. 458 u.s. 886 (1982)

Connick v. Myers 461 u.s. 138 (1983)

Bolger v. Youngs Drugs Prods. Corp. 463 u.s. 60 (1983)

Members of the City Council of the City of Los Angeles v. Taxpayers for Vincent 466 u.s. 789 (1984)

Clark v. Community for Creative Nonviolence 468 u.s. 288 (1984)

Cornelius v. NAACP Legal Defense & Educ. Fund 473 u.s. 788 (1985)

City of Renton v. Playtime Theatres, Inc. 475 u.s. 41 (1986)

Press-Enterprise Co. v. Superior Court 478 u.s. 1 (1986)

Bethel School Dist. No. 403 v. Fraser 478 u.s. 675 (1986)

Board of Airport Commissioners of the City of Los Angeles v. Jews for Jesus, Inc. 482 u.s. 569 (1987)

Rankin v. McPherson 483 u.s. 378 (1987)

Hazelwood School Dist. v. Kuhlmeier 484 u.s. 260 (1988)

Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell 485 u.s. 46 (1988)

Boos v. Barry 485 u.s. 312 (1988)

Frisby v. Schultz 487 u.s. 474 (1988)

Texas v. Johnson 491 u.s. 397 (1989)

Massachusetts v. Oakes 491 u.s. 576 (1989)

Ward v. Rock Against Racism 491 u.s. 781 (1989)

Osborne v. Ohio 495 u.s. 103 (1990)

Board of Education of Westside Community Schools v. Mergens By and Through Mergens 496 u.s. 226 (1990)

United States v. Eichman 496 u.s. 310 (1990)

Milkovich v. Lorain Journal Co. 497 u.s. 1 (1990)

Rutan v. Republican Party of Illinois 497 u.s. 62 (1990)

Rust v. Sullivan 500 u.s. 173 (1991)

Barnes v. Glen Theatre, Inc. 501 u.s. 560 (1991)

Dawson v. Delaware 503 u.s. 159 (1992)

R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul 505 u.s. 377 (1992)

International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Inc. v. Lee 505 u.s. 672 (1992)

Lamb’s Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School District 508 u.s. 384 (1993)

Rosenberger v. Rector & Visitors of the University of Virginia 515 u.s. 819 (1995)

Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition 00-795 (2002)

Republican Party of Minnesota v. White 01-521 (2002)

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One thought on “Freedom of Speech – Freedom of Press

  1. Pingback: FUCK YOU Taylor Swift, Karlie Kloss and FACEBOOK!!! | Lonesome Lozer

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