Oliver Wendel Holmes

The Leonard Lopate Show

How Oliver Wendell Holmes Changed Free Speech in America

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Thomas Healy reveals how the Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes became a free‑speech advocate and established the modern understanding of the First Amendment. A lifelong skeptic, Holmes disdained all individual rights, including the right to express one’s political views, but in 1919, he wrote a dissenting opinion that would become the canonical affirmation of free speech in the United States. The Great Dissent: How Oliver Wendell Holmes Changed His Mind—and Changed the History of Free Speech in America is a remarkable behind-the-scenes campaign by a group of progressives to bring a legal icon around to their way of thinking.

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