Floyd Abrams: Free Speech First

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Floyd Abrams, a First Amendment expert. (Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images/Getty)

Floyd Abrams, First Amendment lawyer and the author of Friend of the Court: On the Front Lines with the First Amendment looks back on his legal career dedicated to defending First Amendment rights, from the Pentagon Papers to Citizens United.

Comments [14]

Perhaps corporate personhood isn't such a bad idea after all....

....if corporations would be subject to capital punishment.

Jun. 13 2013 11:54 AM

"Rich people have a long history in this country of buying elections and politicians. They didn’t, and still don’t, need the dodge of corporate personhood to do that nasty work."

- Doug Henwood, "Fleshing out the corporate person"

Jun. 13 2013 11:48 AM

"he [Humboldt] has no idea, writing in 1790, of the ways in which the notion of private person would come to be reinterpreted in the era of corporate capitalism. "He did not foresee", I now quote the anarchist historian Rudolf Rocker: "he did not foresee that democracy, with its model of equality of all citizens before the law, and liberalism, with its right of man over his own person, both would be wrecked on the realities of capitalistic economy." - "Government in the Future", a lecture delivered by Noam Chomsky in 1970 Audio: Full-transcript:

Jun. 13 2013 11:42 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Corporations can collect and leverage their resources – dollars –
much more easily than individual people can collectivize and leverage theirs – themselves.
It is this opportunity disparity that is the problem.
There is a relationship between fairness and freedom; too little of the former compromises the latter.

Jun. 13 2013 11:39 AM
jg8912 from CT

Brian... oh Brian. Please don't ignore me. I want to know if foreign corporations or governments can anonymously influence elections through contributions to groups like Citizens United.

Jun. 13 2013 11:39 AM
henry from md

Mr Abrams, the question is not whether free speech needs to be protected, but whether the money tsunami coming from corporations does not suppress and taint free speech as it buys up the votes of our representatives in government.

Jun. 13 2013 11:38 AM

So it's a crime to reveal that the U.S. is conducting cyber warfare against China, despite the fact that non-defensive acts of war are also illegal, under treaties to which the U.S. is a signatory, and of which the U.S. has long been in violation.

While there's no doubt who will seek to prosecute Snowden, who's going to prosecute Obama? Mr. Abrams?

Jun. 13 2013 11:35 AM
David from ditmas oark


Ask him: When did money become synonymous with speech, and how do they relate?

Jun. 13 2013 11:30 AM
jg8912 from jg8912

Brian, Brian, Brian,

Please, please, please, PUH-LEEZ ask your guest if FOREIGN corporations or governments can contribute to groups such as Citizens United.

Jun. 13 2013 11:29 AM
jg8912 from CT


Please ask if the Citizens United decision allows foreign corporations, organizations or governments to donate to lobbying groups such as Citizens United.

Jun. 13 2013 11:27 AM
Nat from NYC

Citizens United is a positive? Go on, convince me.

Jun. 13 2013 11:23 AM

What about having Julian Assange himself on the show?

He was on Democracy Now! recently.

Jun. 13 2013 11:19 AM
80 Pine Alum from Westchester

James Goodale was on the Lopate show in May, explaining how he saved the 1st Amendment by winning the Pentagon Papers case almost single-handedly. Would appreciate it if Mr. Abrams could provide some context for Mr. Goodale's assertions.

Jun. 13 2013 11:15 AM
Bassett from Chappaqua

The Citizen's United decision discourages free speech for all but the very wealthy. It is disingenuous to say otherwise. Playing intellectual semantic games, as Floyd does is despicable.

Jun. 13 2013 11:15 AM

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