Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2020

Disciplines

First Amendment | Law | Legal History

Abstract

For all the suggestiveness and staying power of his market-in-ideas metaphor, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’s most significant influence on First Amendment law has turned out to be his notion that only imminent harm can justify punishment for expressions of opinion. This emphasis on the time dimension in the calculus of harm is now entrenched in modern doctrine. It is easy to imagine how First Amendment law might have developed differently had Holmes’s peculiar focus on imminence not been a factor in shaping how the freedom of speech has come to be understood in the United States.

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