Favorite Quotes

michael-lambert-headshots-075-editU.S. Const. amend. I: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Abrams v. United States, 250 U.S. 616 (1919) (Holmes, J. dissenting).

“[T]he best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only grounds upon which their wishes safely can be carried out.”

New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 270 (1964).

“[D]ebate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.”

New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 275 (1964) (quoting James Madison from an earlier debate in the House of Representatives).

“The censorial power is in the people over the Government, and not in the Government over the people.”

New cartoon-free-pressYork Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713, 717 (1971).

“Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.”

Cox Broadcasting Corp. v. Cohn, 420 U.S. 469, 492 (1975).

“Without the information provided by the press, most of us and many of our representatives would be unable to vote intelligently or to register opinions on the administration of government generally. With respect to judicial proceedings in particular, the function of the press serves to guarantee the fairness of trials and to bring to bear the beneficial effects of public scrutiny upon the administration of justice.”

Mills v. Alabama, 384 U.S. 214, 219 (1966).

“The press serves and was designed to serve as a powerful antidote to any abuses of power by governmental officials and as a constitutionally chosen means for keeping officials elected by the people responsible to all the people whom they were selected to serve.”

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310, 352 (2010).

“We have consistently rejected the proposition that the institutional press has ainternetcensorshipny constitutional privilege beyond that of other speakers . . . . With the advent of the Internet and the decline of print and broadcast media, moreover, the line between the media and others who wish to comment on political and social issues becomes far more blurred.”

Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox, 740 F.3d 1284 (9th Cir. 2014).

“The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story.”

Judge Murray Gurfein, United States v. New York Times Co., 328 F. Supp. 324, 331 (S.D.N.Y. 1971).

“A cantankerous press, an obstinate press, an ubiquitous press, must be suffered by those in authority in order to preserve the even greater values of freedom of expression and the right of the people to know.”

Justice William Rehnquist, Hustler vs. Falwell, 485 US 46, 55 (1988).

“‘Outrageousness’ in the area of political and social discourse has an inherent subjectiveness about it which would allow a jury to impose liability on the basis of the jurors’ tastes or views, or perhaps on the basis of their dislike of a particular expression. An ‘outrageousness’ standard thus runs afoul of our longstanding refusal to allow damages to be awarded because the speech in question may have an adverse emotional impact on the audience.”

Justice Harlan, Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971).

“One man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric.”

Oliverforum-cartoon Wendell Holmes, Jr., Dissenting, United States v. Schwimmer, 279 U.S. 644, 654-55 (1928).

“[I]f there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other, it is the principle of free thought—not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.”

Justice Stevens, Dissenting, Houchins v. KQED, Inc., 438 U.S. 1, 31-32 (1978).

“It is not sufficient, therefore, that the channels of communication be free of governmental restraints. Without some protection for the acquisition of information about the operation of public institutions such as prisons by the public at large, the process of self-governance contemplated by the Framers would be stripped of its substance.” “For that reason information gathering is entitled to some measure of constitutional protection.”

Justice BrandeisOther People’s Money and How the Bankers Use It

“Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.”

Glenn Greenwald, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State (2014).

“[T]he true measure of a society’s freedom is how it treats its dissidents and other marginalized groups, not how it treats good loyalists.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

“The mind of the bigot is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will contract.” 

Unknown source

“Unanswered questions are far less dangerous than unquestioned answers.”


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