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No LawIntellectual Property in the Image of an Absolute First Amendment$
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David L. Lange and H. Jefferson Powell

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804745789

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804745789.001.0001

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The Origins of the First Amendment and the Question of Original Meaning

The Origins of the First Amendment and the Question of Original Meaning

Chapter:
(p.195) Chapter 7 The Origins of the First Amendment and the Question of Original Meaning
Source:
No Law
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804745789.003.0007

This chapter demonstrates that the argument that the First Amendment had a clear, determinate original meaning, understood or assumed to be embedded in the words “the freedom of speech, [and] of the press,” is historically indefensible. Neither the interpretive conventions of founding-era lawyers, nor evidence about the actual views of free expression of founders, supports the claim that the First Amendment's original meaning was identical to Blackstone's no-prior-restraint definition of a free press (or any other preexisting) definition.

Keywords:   Constitution, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, free expression, First Amendment

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