Cover image for No liberty for license : the forgotten logic of the First Amendment
No liberty for license : the forgotten logic of the First Amendment
Lowenthal, David, 1923-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Dallas, Tex. : Spence Pub., 1997.
Physical Description:
xxvi, 315 pages ; 24 cm
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KF4770 .L68 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Is all censorship un-American? By tugging at the thread of the First Amendment's inner logic, Lowenthal unravels eighty years of specious constitutional interpretation and offers a compelling and humane vision for a free and civil society.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Lowenthal (political science, Boston Coll.) excoriates the status of our constitutional republic in general and the Supreme Court in particular. He sees a republic imperiled, primarily owing to what he considers the unwarranted handiwork of a Court whose members have forgotten or chosen to ignore the original intent of the First Amendment. Though this account offers a jurisprudence of original intent meant to reclaim the republican experiment begun in the late 18th century, Lowenthal's reach ultimately exceeds his grasp. Writing as a constitutional preservationist opposed to constitutional innovation by the judiciary, he lays all that is wrong with contemporary politics and law in the United States at the feet of the Supreme Court. But his selective treatment of Court decision-making prevents the work from having the appeal and impact it otherwise might have realized. Recommended for academic libraries.¬ĎStephen K. Shaw, Northwest Nazarene Coll., Nampa, Id. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This work by Lowenthal (political science, Boston College) is yet one more in the deluge of "the-Supreme-Court-has-the-Constitution-all-wrong-but-I- know -the-answer" books. Lowenthal's particular spin is that the Court, influenced by Holmes, Brandeis, and other intellectuals, has misinterpreted the Constitution by abandoning original intent and by protecting not simply liberty but license. To that extent, this work is similar to that of Ed Meese (A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States, 1987), Antonin Scalia (A Matter of Interpretation, CH, Jun'97) and other conservatives who seek to achieve their civil liberties-constricting agenda through the guise of so-called original intent. Unfortunately, the author attempts to have it both ways too many times. For example, he argues that movies are not protected "press" because they do not really express ideas; yet his primary motive for seeking to remove them from First Amendment protection seems to be that he dislikes the messages they convey. Likewise, he is critical of Holmes and Brandeis for their reliance on "nonfounder" John Stuart Mill; yet he frequently hangs his own hat on "nonfounder" John Milton. Perhaps most damning is that his discussions of original intent themselves suggest, at least implicitly, that such a notion is elusive, that the evidence is frequently contradictory, and that original intent is ultimately, as Justice Brennan noted, nothing more than arrogance cloaked as humility. Upper-division undergraduates and above. M. W. Bowers University of Nevada, Las Vegas