William Bennett Turner - Free Speech for Some (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Has the First Amendment become a tool to promote the conservative agenda?

On June 27, 2018, Justice Elena Kagan, dissenting from the Supreme Court's decision in a free speech case, accused the Roberts Court majority of "weaponizing the First Amendment"—of "turning the First Amendment into a sword" and using it to serve a conservative political agenda. The U.S. Supreme Court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., has decided more free speech cases than any previous court in history. The decisions have mostly favored free speech claims. But the court increasingly has found First Amendment protection not for dissidents and minorities but for businesses and conservative religious interests. The court has taken free speech principles developed decades ago to shield and empower oppressed minorities and applied them to shield and empower corporations and the religious right. Free Speech for Some critically examines how the Roberts Court has decided the key cases, changed the rules on free speech, engineered outcomes, and become the willing vehicle for advancing the conservative agenda. Justice Kagan was right.

William Bennett Turner a lawyer for 45 years, specialized in unusual litigation, including constitutional law. He argued three cases before the United States Supreme Court (including two First Amendment cases). He has taught First Amendment courses at the University of California at Berkeley for more than three decades. He also has published dozens of articles in various magazines, newspapers, online sites, and law reviews. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Politico, Wired, San Francisco Chronicle, Harvard Magazine, and The Threepenny Review. He served as legal affairs correspondent for KQED television, winning numerous awards for news and documentaries on legal subjects. He was legal consultant to the PBS series "We the People" on the Constitution. He is the author of Figures of Speech: First Amendment Heroes and Villains and Free Speech: Supreme Court Opinions from the Beginning to the Roberts Court.


1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 949111
Free Speech for Some: How the Supreme Court Is Weaponizing the First Amendment to Empower Corporations and the Religious Right By William Bennett Turner Cover Image
ISBN: 9781938901881
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Roaring Forties Press - September 10th, 2019