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First Amendment, First Principles: Verbal Acts and Freedom of Speech, Revised Edition

John F. Wirenius
First Amendment, First Principles: Verbal Acts and Freedom of Speech, Revised Edition
ISBN: 978-08419-1435-3
2004/368 pages
Distributed for Holmes and Meier Publishers

"John Wirenius makes an intelligent and passionate case for free speech at the end of the twentieth century. His thorough review of Supreme Court decisions should provide both the expert and general reader with an excellent background for understanding current debates over pornography, the regulation of hate speech, and the governing of the Internet."—Nadine Strossen, President ACLU

"[A] thoroughly researched and persuasive argument for the defense of free speech. "—New York Law Journal

"In a work equally suitable for academics, lawyers, and lay persons, attorney Wirenius reminds us of the importance of the First Amendment and the significance of the numerous attacks against it at the beginning of the 21st century. Case and subject indexes are especially helpful .... Recommended at all levels."—Choice

"Demonstrates how the First Amendment has radically transformed traditional American social systems, eliminated or reduced old-fashioned prejudice and hatreds, and promoted both equality and freedom together."—Jurist


In First Amendment, First Principles, attorney John F. Wirenius explores challenges to freedom of speech and examines the evolution of how the First Amendment has come to the meaning it bears today. In his bold rethinking of the concept of freedom of speech, Wirenius writes a thorough, scholarly discussion of the body of law surrounding free speech and a passionate defense of his convictions regarding the First Amendment. He reminds us that we must protect the First Amendment in order for it to protect us.

In this revised edition, the author has added a chapter that explores liability for copycat crimes: What is the media's responsibility for violence committed in the aftermath of graphic depictions of murder and other violent acts? He also examines the laws surrounding the exercise of free speech during wartime and cites the latest cases dealing with such subjects as pornography, hate speech, and the Internet.


John F. Wirenius is an attorney who has litigated First Amendment issues in both civil and criminal cases. He has lectured and written extensively on these and related areas and has frequently appeared on several television programs as a commentator on legal issues.