Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Anthony Lewis and the first amdendment

Lest you think that I was too generous in my words about him.  I am aware of his political failings:
"In his final book, “Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment,” published in 2008, Mr. Lewis wrote that he was inclined to relax some of the most stringent First Amendment protections “in an age when words have inspired acts of mass murder and terrorism.” In particular, he said he might reconsider the conventional view that there was only one justification for making incitement a crime: the likelihood of imminent violence.
Mr. Lewis wrote that there was “genuinely dangerous” speech that did not meet the imminence requirement. “I think we should be able to punish speech that urges terrorist violence to an audience, some of whose members are ready to act on the urging,” Mr. Lewis wrote. “That is imminence enough.”
Much as he loved and admired the press, Mr. Lewis considered the courts to be the bedrock institution of American freedom.
“His lifelong faith in judges dominates his legal thinking,” Mr. Frankel said. “No matter how mistaken or craven” a court might be, he added, Mr. Lewis saw the judiciary “as the ultimate safeguard of our democracy.”"