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Press and Speech Under Assault: The Early Supreme Court Justices, the Sedition Act of 1798, and the Campaign Against Dissent

Condition: BRAND NEW
ISBN: 9780190461621
Author(s): Wendell R. Bird
Format: Hardcover
Year: 2016
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Dimensions: 165 x 236 x 38 (w x l x h)
Pages: 568

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Description:
The early Supreme Court justices wrestled with how much press and speech is protected by freedoms of press and speech, before and under the First Amendment, and with whether the Sedition Act of 1798 violated those freedoms. This book discusses the twelve Supreme Court justices before John Marshall, their views of liberties of press and speech, and the Sedition Act prosecutions over which some of them presided. The book begins with the views of the pre-Marshall justices about freedoms of press and speech, before the struggle over the Sedition Act. It finds that their understanding was strikingly more expansive than the narrow definition of Sir William Blackstone, which is usually assumed to have dominated the period. Not one justice of the Supreme Court adopted that narrow definition before 1798, and all expressed strong commitments to those freedoms. The book then discusses the views of the early Supreme Court justices about freedoms of press and speech during the national controversy over the Sedition Act of 1798 and its constitutionality.
It finds that, though several of the justices presided over Sedition Act trials, the early justices divided almost evenly over that issue with an unrecognized half opposing its constitutionality, rather than unanimously supporting the Act as is generally assumed. The book similarly reassesses
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