REVIEWS: Would the Real First Amendment Please Stand Up?

T. J. Babson

If you thought the Constitution gave you the rights to freedom of speech and of the press, think again. You have to read: Would the Real First Amendment Please Stand Up?. In it Barry Krusch adroitly and hilariously explodes that myth, and left me wondering if the Supreme Court is really a confusion factory. 

Stephen S. Pearcy, Attorney

Every lawyer knows that the Constitution we see is not the one we get. That point is driven home on this site. Mr. Kruschís summary of U.S. Supreme Court rulings about the 1st Amendment is comprehensive and succinct. Unfortunately, itís also true.

Most Americans who read the 1st Amendment assume that the plain meaning of the language governs the Supreme Courtís interpretations of it; however, as Mr. Krusch shows, the Supreme Court has effectively amended the 1st Amendment, through various rulings over the years, to mean much less than what it says.

Anyone who wants to understand ďthe real 1st AmendmentĒ should visit this site.

Michael Drury

I was impressed with your on-line book. I found myself referring to it often as I tried to sort out in my mind how Congress was able to pass a bill restricting freedom of speech on the Internet.

Associated Press

Over 100 pages that promises to open your eyes to what is and what isnít free speech...


A humorous yet serious look at the "fine print" limitations to the First Amendment.

George Smiley

Barry Krusch has written an extraordinary online book entitled Would the Real First Amendment Please Stand Up? It's long, but extremely well thought out and researched...[A]n articulate and detailed review of Supreme Court rulings that have riddled the First with BUTS and EXCEPTS.

Chris Porter

I recommend this to everyone . . .

David Citron

This is an amazing resource -- an online book over 100 pages and 177 footnotes long that will, at the very least, open your eyes. The URL is I haven't downloaded it yet, but the first few pages of the site are -- in a word -- fascinating. It's a must-read for this political season, and probably much more exciting than two months of political sound bites and speeches!

Bob Zilla

I LOVED your book! I couldn't stop reading it till I finished. You had me laughing over and over. . . . a thorough, incisive, brilliant, funny, tour-de-farce of those [expletives deleted] in Congress and on the Supreme Court and the treason they have done to their oaths of office and our "inalienable rights."

"Undead Agent"

This was a message posted on USENET to a fellow who had apparently infringed on a copyright.

Arnie . . . read Would The the Real First Amendment Please Stand Up? by Barry Krusch . . . It's all brilliant and it all directly applies to your case, but please see especially the section on First Amendment vs. Copyright Laws. You are *irrefutably innocent* and may even have many grounds for appeal. [Legally, of course, those are not equivalent and may be "judiciously" unrelated.]

This book reveals much information that your . . . lawyers and the . . . court didn't bother to inform you of. Please read it YOURSELF before you evaluate ANYTHING your lawyers tell you.


If you've got the time, we've got an online book for you. Barry Krusch examines the 1st Amendment in detail and attempts to put the Supreme Court's revisions of the Constitution into a form the layperson can understand. You should know this stuff.

Colin Rafferty

"I think it would be interesting to research all the court cases that carve out exceptions in Bill of Rights, compile them, and see how the present understanding of those rights differs from what it actually says in the Constitution. I'm sure it'd be an eye opener."

Check out "Would the Real First Amendment Please Stand Up?", an on-line book by Barry Krusch. It is an excellent decomposition of where the US stands on our First Amendment.

Ram Samudrala

Your book about the misuse of the First Amendment is really cool and I thank you very much for putting it up on the www. What was most illuminating to me personally was your rationale on how the founding fathers did not want a Democracy but wanted a Republic. That's something I have to digest, but I think it's fairly plain given the language of the First Amendment that it really is a statement about Congress and no one else. I also liked your discussion that showed that Federal Copyright Law and the First Amendment are inconsistent with each other (I oppose Copyright Law on other grounds, with the basic belief that you cannot "own" intellectual property). . . .

Thanks again for doing such a great job, and for compiling that list of Supreme Court cases -- your work provides an interesting starting point for some individual cases.

And also an official review:

This is on-line book that's available by clicking on the title above, and I think it's well-written, and very witty. As a free speech and First Amendment absolutist (which simply means that I take what it says to be what it says), I've always wondered why people didn't complain when the Supreme Court carved out various exceptions to the First Amendment. But I assumed always that the Supreme Court had the authority to do this. Krusch destroys this notion in his "myths" chapters.

It's clearer than ever before, after reading the book, that the courts have carved out various exceptions to the First Amendment, and the people have let them. . . .

The most fascinating part of the book is in the chapter that deals with the First Amendment and Federal Copyright Law. I never thought of Federal Copyright Law as being a violation of the First Amendment (i.e., language wise -- I've always thought it was against the notion of free speech and expression).

Krusch makes a strong argument for his viewpoint. Of course, there's some ambiguity in the words "speech" and "press" in the First Amendment, but assuming that Federal Copyright Law abridges those freedoms, shouldn't the logical conclusion be that they are inconsistent with each other (as Krusch notes in the final paragraphs on this topic)?

I highly recommend this book. At the very least, it brings to light some very interesting Supreme Court cases, and at the best, it'll make you think about how the legislative and judiciary bodies have amassed more power than they're supposed to have (according to the U.S. Constitution) over the years.

 Jay Reifert

If you're tired of seeing Chris Roth's endless promotion of his flawed interpretation(s) of the First Amendment, you should check out Barry Krusch's online book . . . It's far more interesting and much more intellectually honest and journalistically fair than anything I've ever seen coming from Chris. Go see for yourself.

Harvard Computing Society

Form Follows Function

by Susan Marie Groppi

Freedom of Speech is a hot topic these days, both in terms of immediate importance and media relevance. Given the amount of attention this topic has recieved and the degree to which it affects the Internet, it is perhaps unsurprising to find an online book devoted to the topic. Would the Real First Amendment Please Stand Up?, by Barry Krusch, is a valiant effort at dealing with this important issue in a new media.

In the preface, Krusch states the following:

Would the Real First Amendment Please Stand up?
attempts to blast into smithereens the following syllogism:

1) The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land, and
2)The First Amendment is part of the Constitution, therefore
3) The First Amendment is the Supreme Law of the Land.

The early chapters of the book devote a great deal of energy to discussing what sorts of abridgement of speech are constitutional and which are not. Krusch makes the point that censorship is only unconstitutional when it is perpetrated by Congress in the form of law. He cites instances in which regulation of some forms of speech is constitutionally valid and in the best interests of the public. . . .Krusch's point is an interesting one, and he manages to convey it effectively and clearly . . .His conclusion seems to be that interpreting constitutionality under the First Amendment is far more complex than people immediately think. He uses an example of a constitutionality flow chart.

The picture on the left is the "flow chart" as most people envision it; the one on the right is what he claims is actually closer to the truth. The flow charts are also meant as a graphical demonstration of where the many loopholes in constitutional law come from. Krusch also provides a list of further reading for those interested in what he's described.

On the whole, the book is a valiant effort . . . it's a worthwhile experience for those who want to see exactly how complicated the First Amendment can be.

Jim Schuler

I found your online book on the 1st Amendment, and I wish to thank you for forcing me to sit down and read, word for word, definition by definition, that simple but powerful sentence. I was an absolute free speech nut, constantly raving about my 1st Amendment rights, only to now know I have no 1st Amendment rights. Well, perhaps the right to peaceably assemble, as there is that "the right of the people" line and I can see an argument for the 14th to extend that, but I'm going off topic. I'm still going to be a free speech nut, just now recognizing that it isn't a right granted by the Federal government.

[Name withheld by request], Attorney

I enjoyed your book, Would the Real First Amendment Please Stand Up?. As an attorney educated in a public law school who still retained his integrity, I would say that you are dead on. Personally, I'm big on texts, not opinions (stare decisis be damned). Many other attorneys also realize the departure, but are too comfortable making a living under the current system to say so publicly. Usually, we'll advise something along these lines: "The text of the (constitution, statute, etc) says this, and the meaning is clear; however, we are in Judge X's courtroom, and this is his track record on the issue, and if we want to prevail . . . . The Appellate Court has this track record . . . ." This type of legal advice is but a higher form of political advice -- how X (voter, legislator or judge/justice) will cast his/her vote, except we members of the bar are learned professionals who bill at high hourly rates.

Send your review of this book to Barry Krusch.

Why I Wrote This Book