Welcome to the second in an installment series here on Lawyers & Liquor where I, the bloviating blowhard that is the Boozy Barrister, become your cut rate Ms. Frizzle as we go on a magical journey of learning together about the First Amendment and, more specifically, the freedom of speech that it guarantees. This month we have a new sponsor hanging around here, the lovable and talented Quack Quack Honk Designs! A lovely artist from the cold regions of the world…like…those places north of Ohio, QQH is a wonderful artist who appears at art fairs all over the place selling their work, and right now if you jump into the fray at their website you can even use them to design your holiday cards! HOP TO IT, because Art is a form of speech, and my speech says you should buy shit from them!
As I told you last time, myself and Constitutional Law had a love/hate relationship in law school, in no small part because it was a two hour class very fucking early in the morning and I wasn’t ready for any of that deep thought at that point. As a result, while I certainly understand and know con law, I never really got into the in-depth study of it. There’s just not a lot of call for constitutional arguments in the course of keeping a person’s home or defending a DUI, and to the extent there are you pick up that part of it on basic principles and practice, not by the in-depth study of the issuance of letters of marque and shit like that.
Now, as I may have said in the past, the principles of the freedom of speech were basically considered so non-controversial that, in debating the meaning of them, Congress essentially went “that’s really verbose for something we all know what it means, so we’re just gonna pare that shit right there down a bit.” Fuck, as I pointed out last time there was pretty much no discussion about this shit on the floor of the Congress at all at the time it was passed other than someone taking out the red marker and pulling the old Hemingway “say more with less” approach to cutting out what they determined were superfluous words. However, as we now know, the founding fuckers were being a little optimistic in their estimation of mankind’s intelligence in taking this tack, as what happened thereafter was a hodgepodge of judicial determinations as to what the limits and benefits of free speech actually were under the Bill of Rights, leading to the modern interpretation of the short amendment (shorter, in fact, than this post to this point) and its guarantee of basic liberty for the people that live under its rule. And, with the Bill of Rights ratified in 1791, it wasn’t even a full decade before the first major challenge to free speech came to national prominence.
You know, because President John Adams really fucking hated criticism. Enough that he made it a jailable offense.Continue reading “Quack Quack Honk Designs Presents Free Speech Friday: John Adams Hated Bad Press.”