Reason TV: The High Value of Low Speech - First Amendment Attorney Robert Corn-Revere Defends The Right to Offend

"All First Amendment cases are about the power," says First Amendment attorney Robert Corn-Revere. "Who should have the power to tell individuals what to read, think, believe or feel?"   

At Reason Foundation's annual Reason Weekend, Corn-Revere made the case that speech should be free even when that speech is widely reviled. He  discussed the range of historical judicial opinions on the First Amendment, his involvement in defending pornographer John Stagliano against obscenity charges, his defense of the Westboro Baptist Church, and how he managed to get a posthumous pardon for comedian Lenny Bruce.  

About 34 minutes. Shot by Alex Manning and Paul Detrick; edited by Zach Weissmueller.

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  • ||

    I find that offensive!

  • Almanian||

    I find your taking offense at this to be offensive.

  • ||

    This is the worst kind of discrimination: the kind against me!

  • Name Nomad||

    Since your name seems like it might have some sort of Greek influence, you can probably get him on hate crimes legislation. Are Greeks a protected class?

  • ||

    Not Greek, but anti-alien hate instead?

  • Ska||

    What about hating that Greek guy who gets interviewed for the Discovery "God is really Space Aliens" TV series?

  • ||

    "Greeks are just Jews without money."

  • ||

    "It takes two Greeks to cheat a Jew, and two Jews to cheat an Armenian."

    Verbatim quote from an ancient history prof I had about 1972; he claimed it was a widespread proverb in the ancient world.

  • ||

    Corn-Revere: A very important figure in the Vegetable Revolutionary War. Right up there with General Zucchini Washington and Potato Jefferson.

  • ||

    Okra Hancock?

  • Jim||

    John "rutabaga" Adams! Ben "peas n' carrots" Franklin!


  • ||

    "If we do not blanch together we shall surely blanch separately."

  • Sudden||

    John Radicchio Stagliano

  • Warty||

  • Achtung Coma Baby||

    Is the best part of the eventual dissolution of the FCC the chance to see Marge Simpson's naked-ass body?

  • Bruce Applegate||

    Freedom of speech is, freedom to express whatever it you want. Whether you or I like the message or not. For Example, someone can Hold a Sign in Time Square that reads " Death to Cavemen ", I wouldnt like it, but its the right of the individual to express themselves. The messages in this article are the same. We all have our causes and opinions but that should not stand in the way of our greatest freedom, which is freedom of speech. You can try to silence what people think, even a small minority, but that wont work. That sign got more publicity now than it had ever dreamed of. Bruce Applegate,

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    The audio quality on that movie seemed kinda low...

  • rather||

    Another article on free speech, have you banned Max yet?

  • Huh?||

    Non-sequitur much?

  • rather||

  • Jordan||

    So fucking what? That has nothing to do with the First Amendment.

  • rather||


  • Jordan||

    Someone doesn't get the whole "private property" thing.

  • Ed Donegan||

    What a great attorney who expresses first amendment concepts so clearly. I have some of the excerpts from the Playboy Entertainment Group SCOTUS case, as well as some similar from Citizens United where the Supreme Court re-affirmed those very Constitutional protections, including citing the Playboy case. That is at

    Thanks ReasonTV for the great work, another yet another example of technology offering more choice, more variety, and more opinions and perspectives to the information consumer through technology.

  • seventy-eight||

    Just out of curiosity, is Zach any kin to Johnny?

  • David Stern||

    Free speech is not free just ask Kobe Bryant or Joakim Noah. The word faggot cost $100,000.00

  • Boss Tweed||

    If you are an entertainer and you say something to offend your fans you won't get arrested, but that doesn't mean there are no market consequences.

    Ask the Dixie Chicks how that worked out.

  • nike shox||

    is good


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