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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.

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Podcasts to stay up to date.


Recent Podcasts

Free Speech Recordings
O'Hare Truck Service, Inc. v. City of Northlake, 518 U.S. 712 (1996) 

May 10, 2022

O'Hare Truck Service, Inc. v. City of Northlake is read by Casey Mattox, the vice president for legal and judicial strategy at Americans for Prosperity.

O'Hare Truck Service, Inc. v. City of Northlake is read by Casey Mattox, the vice president for legal and judicial strategy at Americans for Prosperity.

Legal Question: Whether government retaliation against a contractor or regular provider of services for the exercise of rights of political association or allegiance violates the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee.

Action: The Court found that the independent contractor relationship between O'Hare and the City was sufficiently close to an employer-employee relationship to justify the recognition of a First Amendment right. 

Mr. Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion of the Court, at 00:35

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

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

For more episodes, visit thefire.org/outloud.

Free Speech Out Loud is a project of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

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Free Speech Recordings
Speech: “Spirit of Liberty” by Judge Learned Hand, 1944 

Mar 30, 2022

This speech titled “Spirit of Liberty” was originally given by Judge Learned Hand in 1944 in celebration of I Am an American Day.

This speech titled “Spirit of Liberty” was originally given by Judge Learned Hand in 1944 in celebration of I Am an American Day.

For this recording the speech is read by Don Murphy. 

For the text of the “Spirit of Liberty” speech visit FIRE’s First Amendment Library.

For more episodes, visit thefire.org/outloud.

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Free Speech Recordings
Keyishian v. Board of Regents, 385 U.S. 589 (1967) 

Feb 15, 2022

Legal Question: Whether provisions of the Education Law and Civil Service Law requiring public servants to renounce Communism were overly broad and vague. 

Keyishian v. Board of Regents is read by Don Murphy. 

Legal Question: Whether provisions of the Education Law and Civil Service Law requiring public servants to renounce Communism were overly broad and vague. 

Action: The Court ruled in favor of the employees and held that the provisions at issue were unconstitutional as applied.

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

Mr. Justice Clark, with whom Mr. Justice Harlan, Mr. Justice Stewart and Mr. Justice White join, dissenting, at 49:36

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

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

For more episodes, visit thefire.org/outloud.

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Free Speech Recordings
FIRE Article: “QUIET CAMPUSES: America’s 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech” (Feb. 2, 2022) 

Feb 04, 2022

This article titled “QUIET CAMPUSES: America’s 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech” was published on FIRE’s Newsdesk on February 2, 2022.

This article titled “QUIET CAMPUSES: America’s 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech” was published on FIRE’s Newsdesk on February 2, 2022.

View the article for all links to citations and related materials.
Join FIRE’s Alumni Network.
For more episodes, visit thefire.org/outloud.

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Jan 14, 2022

This article titled “From protests to the Supreme Court: How the Civil Rights Movement advanced First Amendment legal protections” by Jordan Howell was published on FIRE’s Newsdesk on January, 14 2022. 

This article titled “From protests to the Supreme Court: How the Civil Rights Movement advanced First Amendment legal protections” by Jordan Howell was published on FIRE’s Newsdesk on January, 14 2022. 

View the article for all links to citations and related materials.  

Join FIRE’s Alumni Network.

For more episodes, visit thefire.org/outloud.

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Free Speech Recordings
Reason Magazine Article: “The Second Great Age of Political Correctness” by Greg Lukianoff (January 2022) 

Dec 21, 2021

This article, titled “The Second Great Age of Political Correctness” by Greg Lukianoff was published in the January 2022 issue of Reason Magazine. 

This article, titled “The Second Great Age of Political Correctness” by Greg Lukianoff was published in the January 2022 issue of Reason Magazine. 

View the article for all links to citations and related materials.  

Join FIRE’s Alumni Network.

For more episodes, visit thefire.org/outloud.

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Dec 21, 2021

This article titled “Yale’s treatment of psych lecturer another step in continuing retreat from academic freedom” by Adam Goldstein and Peter Bonilla was published as part of FIRE’s Eternally Radical Idea column on December 6, 2021.

This article titled “Yale’s treatment of psych lecturer another step in continuing retreat from academic freedom” by Adam Goldstein and Peter Bonilla was published as part of FIRE’s Eternally Radical Idea column on December 6, 2021.

View the article for all links to citations and related materials.  

Join FIRE’s Alumni Network.

For more episodes, visit thefire.org/outloud.

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Free Speech Recordings
FIRE Article: “What does MIT stand for? Faculty, alumni want answers.” by Komi German (Dec. 1, 2021) 

Dec 10, 2021

This article titled “What does MIT stand for? Faculty, alumni want answers.” by Komi German was published to FIRE’s Newsdesk on December 1, 2021. 

This article titled “What does MIT stand for? Faculty, alumni want answers.” by Komi German was published to FIRE’s Newsdesk on December 1, 2021. 

View the article for all links to citations and related materials.  

Join FIRE’s Alumni Network.

For more episodes, visit thefire.org/outloud.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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. 

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

Jun 24, 2021

Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L.’s majority opinion is read by Dylan Moore, FIRE Law Clerk from the University of Chicago Law School. 

Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L.’s majority opinion is read by Dylan Moore, FIRE Law Clerk from the University of Chicago Law School. 

A full reading of the concurrence and dissent in this case is forthcoming. 

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 00:53.

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

For commentary from FIRE on this case, visit FIRE’s Newsdesk.

For more episodes, visit thefire.org/outloud.

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Free Speech Recordings
Stromberg v. California, 283 U.S. 359 (1931) 

Jun 18, 2021

Stromberg v. California’s majority opinion is read by Judy Branfman, Research Affiliate at the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor & Employment and producer and director of “The Land of Orange Groves & Jails,” a film about her great aunt Yetta Stromberg and this landmark Supreme Court case. The dissents are read by Ryan Edwards, a student at USC.

Stromberg v. California’s majority opinion is read by Judy Branfman, Research Affiliate at the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor & Employment and producer and director of “The Land of Orange Groves & Jails,” a film about her great aunt Yetta Stromberg and this landmark Supreme Court case. The dissents are read by Ryan Edwards, a student at USC.

Legal Question: Does a California statute that prohibited the display of a red flag as a statement of “opposition to organized government” violate the First & Fourteenth Amendments?

Action: The Supreme Court reversed the conviction, holding that because the verdict did not specify what clause it was based on, the conviction could not be upheld if any of the statute’s three purposes was unconstitutional. The Court ruled that the first part of the statute prohibiting the display of the flag as a sign of opposition to organized government was unconstitutional.

Mr. Chief Justice Hughes delivered the opinion of the Court. at 00:44

Mr. Justice McReynolds, dissenting, at 23:56

Mr. Justice Butler, dissenting, at 26:42

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

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

For more episodes, visit thefire.org/outloud.

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Free Speech Recordings
West Virginia v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943) 

May 25, 2021

Barnette's majority opinion is read by Nadine Strossen, professor of law at New York Law School, member of FIRE’s Advisory Council, and former president of the ACLU.

Barnette's majority opinion is read by Nadine Strossen, professor of law at New York Law School, member of FIRE’s Advisory Council, and former president of the ACLU.

Legal Question: Whether a compulsory flag-salute law for school children violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Action: The injunction against the state’s enforcement of the law at issue was granted.

Mr. Justice Jackson delivered the opinion of the Court, at 01:02

Mr. Justice Roberts and Mr. Justice Reed adhere to the views expressed by the Court in Gobitis, at 50:39

Mr. Justice Black and Mr. Justice Douglas, concurring, at 50:53

Mr. Justice Murphy, concurring, at 55:19

Mr. Justice Frankfurter, dissenting, at 1:00:42

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

For more on West Virginia v. Barnette, visit FIRE’s First Amendment Library.

For more episodes, visit thefire.org/outloud.

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Free Speech Recordings
Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971) 

Apr 08, 2021

Cohen is read by Robert Corn-Revere, First Amendment media lawyer and partner at Davis Wright Tremaine.

Cohen is read by Robert Corn-Revere, First Amendment media lawyer and partner at Davis Wright Tremaine.

Legal Question: Whether arresting someone for wearing a jacket that says “Fuck the Draft” under a California statute which prohibits “offensive conduct” violated the First Amendment.

Action: The application of the statute to Cohen’s expression was ruled to be unconstitutional because it did not meet the standard for fighting words or obscenity. The Court also rejected the state’s reasoning that they needed to protect unwilling viewers from Cohen’s display, noting that viewers “could effectively avoid further bombardment of their sensibilities by averting their eyes.”

Justice Harlan delivered the opinion of the Court, at 00:41

Justice Blackmun, dissenting, at 24:03

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

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

For more episodes, visit thefire.org/outloud.

Chapters:
00:41 MR. JUSTICE HARLAN delivered the opinion of the Court.
05:55 I. In order to lay hands ...
15:17 II. Against this background, the issue ...
24:03 MR. JUSTICE BLACKMUN dissenting.

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Free Speech Recordings
Healy v. James, 408 U.S. 169 (1972) 

Mar 18, 2021

Legal Question: Whether the First Amendment applies with equal force at public universities.

Legal Question: Whether the First Amendment applies with equal force at public universities.

Action: The lower court, which had affirmed the college’s denial of official recognition to the campus chapter, was reversed. The court remanded the case for reconsideration as to whether the campus chapter was willing to abide by reasonable campus rules.

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

Chief Justice Burger, concurring, at 51:04

Justice Douglas, concurring, at 53:34

Justice Douglas, appendix, at 56:32

Justice Rehnquist, statement concurring, at 01:04:04

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

For more on Healy v. James, visit FIRE’s First Amendment Library.

For more episodes, visit thefire.org/outloud.

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Free Speech Recordings
Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260 (1988) 

Feb 05, 2021

Legal Question: Whether a high school principal’s removal of two articles from the student newspaper about pregnancy and divorce violated the First Amendment rights of the student editors. To what extent, consistent with the First Amendment, may educators exercise editorial control over school-sponsored speech?

Legal Question: Whether a high school principal’s removal of two articles from the student newspaper about pregnancy and divorce violated the First Amendment rights of the student editors. To what extent, consistent with the First Amendment, may educators exercise editorial control over school-sponsored speech?

Action: The Court, overruling the Eighth Circuit, ruled that the removal did not violate the First Amendment.

Justice Brennan, dissenting, at 32:41

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

For more on Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, visit FIRE’s First Amendment Library

For more episodes, visit thefire.org/outloud.

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Free Speech Recordings
Papish v. Board of Curators of the University of Missouri, 410 U.S. 667 (1973) 

Feb 05, 2021

Legal Question: Whether a university that expelled a student for reprinting an offensive cartoon and a profane article headline in a campus newspaper violated the First Amendment. Action: The Court held that ideas distastefully expressed are not unprotected, that the cartoon was not legally obscene, and that the student’s expulsion was based on content, and not on a valid time, place, and manner restriction.

Legal Question: Whether a university that expelled a student for reprinting an offensive cartoon and a profane article headline in a campus newspaper violated the First Amendment. Action: The Court held that ideas distastefully expressed are not unprotected, that the cartoon was not legally obscene, and that the student’s expulsion was based on content, and not on a valid time, place, and manner restriction.

Chief Justice Burger, joining the dissent, at 11:20

Justice Rehnquist, dissenting, at 13:23

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

For more on Papish v. Board of Curators of the University of Missouri, visit FIRE’s First Amendment Library

For more episodes, visit thefire.org/outloud.

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