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Free Speech Recordings

Free Speech Out Loud

Free Speech Out Loud is a podcast releasing recordings of free speech-related Supreme Court opinions, often read by famous First Amendment lawyers and scholars.

This reading series from FIRE is dedicated to increasing accessibility to the First Amendment jurisprudence that serves as the backbone of the free speech rights we enjoy today. We hope that these recordings will be useful for lawyers looking to refresh their knowledge, law students on the go, and other individuals looking to educate themselves using an audio medium.

Due to changes in citation styles over the years and for ease of listening, we have abridged some citations and removed string citations. For more information, visit our explanation.

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Recent Podcasts

Free Speech Recordings
Talley v. California, 362 U.S. 60 (1960) 

Oct 01, 2021

Talley v. California is read by David Keating, President of the Institute for Free Speech. Legal Question: Whether a Los Angeles city ordinance forbidding distribution of anonymous handbills violated the First Amendment. Action: The ordinance was ruled void on its face and overbroad. For more on Talley v. California, visit FIRE’s First Amendment Library. For more episodes, visit thefire.org/outloud.

Talley v. California is read by David Keating, President of the Institute for Free Speech.

Legal Question: Whether a Los Angeles city ordinance forbidding distribution of anonymous handbills violated the First Amendment.

Action: The ordinance was ruled void on its face and overbroad.

Mr. Justice Black delivered the opinion of the Court, at 01:32

Mr. Justice Harlan, concurring, at 14:26

Mr. Justice Clark, whom Mr. Justice Frankfurter and Mr. Justice Whittaker join, dissenting, at 17:55

This opinion’s citations have been edited down for ease of listening. For more information, visit our explanation.

For more on Talley v. California, visit FIRE’s First Amendment Library.

For more episodes, visit thefire.org/outloud.

Read more


Free Speech Recordings
Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969) 

Sep 01, 2021

Tinker v. Des Moines’ majority is read by Mary Beth Tinker, one of the students at the center of this case. The concurrences and dissents are read by Emma Camp, a rising senior at the University of Virginia. Legal Question: Whether the wearing of armbands by public school students as a form of symbolic speech is protected by the First Amendment. Action: The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the students’ right to wear the armbands, overruling the Eighth Circuit.

Tinker v. Des Moines’ majority is read by Mary Beth Tinker, one of the students at the center of this case. The concurrences and dissents are read by Emma Camp, a rising senior at the University of Virginia.

Legal Question: Whether the wearing of armbands by public school students as a form of symbolic speech is protected by the First Amendment.

Action: The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the students’ right to wear the armbands, overruling the Eighth Circuit.

Mr. Justice Fortas delivered the opinion of the Court, at 00:58

Mr. Justice Stewart, concurring, at 26:49

Mr. Justice White, concurring, at 27:38

Mr. Justice Black, dissenting, at 28:10

Mr. Justice Harlan, dissenting, at 47:42

This opinion’s citations have been edited down for ease of listening. For more information, visit our explanation.

For more on Tinker, visit FIRE’s First Amendment Library.

For more episodes, visit thefire.org/outloud.

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Free Speech Recordings
Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927) 

Aug 18, 2021

Whitney v. California’s concurrence is read by Jeffrey Rosen, President and CEO of the National Constitution Center, and the majority opinion is read by Barrett Fife, a rising junior at William & Mary University.

Whitney v. California’s concurrence is read by Jeffrey Rosen, President and CEO of the National Constitution Center, and the majority opinion is read by Barrett Fife, a rising junior at William & Mary University.

Legal Question: Whether California’s criminal syndicalism law that made it a crime to defend, advocate, or establish an organization committed to violent means of effecting government change violated the First Amendment.

Action: The Court found that the act was constitutional and upheld Whitney’s conviction.

Mr. Justice Sanford delivered the opinion of the Court., at 00:59

Mr. Justice Brandeis, concurring., at 27:30

This opinion’s citations have been edited down for ease of listening. For more information, visit our explanation.

For more on Whitney v. California, visit FIRE’s First Amendment Library.

For more episodes, visit thefire.org/outloud.

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Free Speech Recordings
Widmar v. Vincent, 454 U.S. 263 (1981) 

Jul 20, 2021

Legal Question: Whether a public university’s interest in maintaining a “strict separation of church and state” allows it to bar religious student groups from reserving facilities for worship. Action: The Court held that the policy was not content-neutral, violating the student group’s First Amendment rights.

Legal Question: Whether a public university’s interest in maintaining a “strict separation of church and state” allows it to bar religious student groups from reserving facilities for worship.

Action: The Court held that the policy was not content-neutral, violating the student group’s First Amendment rights.

Mr. Justice Powell delivered the opinion of the Court, at 00:44

Mr. Justice Stevens, concurring, at 30:07

Mr. Justice White, dissenting, at 40:10

This opinion’s citations have been edited down for ease of listening. For more information, visit our explanation.

For more on Widmar, visit FIRE’s First Amendment Library.

For more episodes, visit thefire.org/outloud.

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Free Speech Recordings
Updated: Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., 594 U.S. __ (2021) 

Jul 12, 2021

The opinions in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L.’s are read by Dylan Moore and Jeff Murphy, FIRE Law Clerks from the University of Chicago Law School. Held: “While public schools may have a special interest in regulating some off-campus student speech, the special interests offered by the school are not sufficient to overcome B.L.’s interest in free expression in this case.”

The opinions in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L.’s are read by Dylan Moore and Jeff Murphy, FIRE Law Clerks from the University of Chicago Law School. 

Held: “While public schools may have a special interest in regulating some off-campus student speech, the special interests offered by the school are not sufficient to overcome B.L.’s interest in free expression in this case.”

Mr. Justice Breyer delivered the opinion of the Court, at 1:07.

Mr. Justice Alito concurring, at 20:05. 

Mr. Justice Thomas dissenting, at 57:53.

This opinion’s citations have been edited down for ease of listening. For more information, visit our explanation.

For more on Mahanoy, visit FIRE’s First Amendment Library.

For more episodes, visit thefire.org/outloud.

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