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Prof. Burt Neuborne spent decades with ACLU, helped found Brennan Center and teaches law at NYU. He celebrates the First Amendment and critiques the Supreme Court in his brilliant new book, Madison's Music.Neuborne breaks down the language of the First Amendment into its 6 components, and argues his brief that the poetic, carefully crafted clause was written by Madison to provide freedom from imposed religion as well as the freedom to practice a religion. He analyzes the recent misuse of the First Amendment in the so-called "religious freedom restoration" bills enacted in Indiana and Arkansas, which involves cherrypicking the "exercise clause" while ignoring the "establishment clause" that precedes it.
We also discuss the First Amendment in respect to the gerrymandering of legislative districts, and the long-running failure of the Supreme Court to recognize that the first goal of the Bill of Rights is to promote democracy. And we talk about the bad rulings that favor money over speech: Buckley v. Valeo, Citizens United, and Hobby Lobby.
Responding for my call to restore the Fourth Amendment, we get a mini-course on the interconnectedness of the 10 parts of the Bill of Rights, especially amendments 4 through 8.
We close with discussion of pornographer Larry Flynt and his use of the First Amendment.