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The First Amendment: Are You a Relativist or an Absolutist?
 

The First Amendment: Are You a Relativist or an Absolutist?

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A consideration of the absolutist and relativist views of the First Amendment as seen through the careers of Nat Hentoff and Robert Bork.

A consideration of the absolutist and relativist views of the First Amendment as seen through the careers of Nat Hentoff and Robert Bork.

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    The First Amendment: Are You a Relativist or an Absolutist? The First Amendment: Are You a Relativist or an Absolutist? Presentation Transcript

    • First Amendment
      Are you an absolutistor a relativist?
    • Nat Hentoff: Absolutist
      Northeastern graduate
    • Nat Hentoff: Absolutist
      Northeastern graduate
      Wrote liner notes for John Coltrane andBob Dylan albums
    • Nat Hentoff: Absolutist
      Northeastern graduate
      Wrote liner notes for John Coltrane andBob Dylan albums
      First Amendment views formed by getting kicked off the Northeastern News
    • Robert Bork: Relativist
      Served Richard Nixon
    • Robert Bork: Relativist
      Served Richard Nixon
      Failed Supreme Court nominee
    • Robert Bork: Relativist
      Served Richard Nixon
      Failed Supreme Court nominee
      Blames liberal judges for protecting “vulgarity and obscenity”
    • Understanding“make no law”
      Hentoff: Any restriction on speech, even libel law, violates the First Amendment
    • Understanding“make no law”
      Hentoff: Any restriction on speech, even libel law, violates the First Amendment
      Bork: The First Amendment was meant to protect political speech, not indecency and violence
    • Understanding“make no law”
      Hentoff: Any restriction on speech, even libel law, violates the First Amendment
      Bork: The First Amendment was meant to protect political speech, not indecency and violence
    • Hentoff on obscenity
      Founders were unconcerned
    • Hentoff on obscenity
      Founders were unconcerned
      Supreme Court didn’t mention until 1957
    • Hentoff on obscenity
      Founders were unconcerned
      Supreme Court didn’t mention until 1957
      Brennan (right), in Roth, introduced social value
    • Lenny Bruce
      A satirist with a dirty mouth
    • Lenny Bruce
      A satirist with a dirty mouth
      How do you define social value?
    • Lenny Bruce
      A satirist with a dirty mouth
      How do you define social value?
      Won on appeal,but it was too late
    • Bork on obscenity
      Criticizes Snoop Dogg, Nine Inch Nails
    • Bork on obscenity
      Criticizes Snoop Dogg, Nine Inch Nails
      Driven by aesthetic as well as legal judgments
    • Bork on obscenity
      Criticizes Snoop Dogg, Nine Inch Nails
      Driven by aesthetic as well as legal judgments
      Hentoff may be wrong — Chaplinsky,Near v. Minnesota
    • Hentoff versus Bork
      Protection of political ideas versus threat of censorship
    • Hentoff versus Bork
      Protection of political ideas versus threat of censorship
      A loophole for censors versus a loophole for pornographers
    • Hentoff versus Bork
      Protection of political ideas versus threat of censorship
      A loophole for censors versus a loophole for pornographers
      Minority rights versus majority rule