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William J. Brennan

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We consider this case against the background of a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.
Writing for the court, New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964)

William J. Brennan

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“Mind you, in the New York Times v. Sullivan case, [the courts] said that in political debate, speech can be robust, wide open, and uninhibited – for political debate! How much more so for...old time gospel hellfire and damnation preaching? – Sermon, November 4, 2007

Fred Phelps

You can go to any major history and see the effect of unregulation. The very point of developing regulation around industrial society was that they were not only exploiting the workers to death they were befouling the planet, so regulation came because of that. What the right wing wants is for the public to have this role in the societal debate over balance of these issues and no power. The public power to confront these errors of industry is government regulation.

Chip Berlet

Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.

Robert F. Kennedy

Happy family: The existence and maintenance of [this] is thought to make a politician fit for public office. According to this theory, the public are less concerned by whether or not they are effectively represented than by the need to be assured that the penises and vaginas of public officials are only used in legally sanctioned circumstances.

John Ralston Saul

The public does not like you to mislead or represent yourself to be something you're not. And the other thing that the public really does like is the self-examination to say, you know, I'm not perfect. I'm just like you. They don't ask their public officials to be perfect. They just ask them to be smart, truthful, honest, and show a modicum of good sense.

Ann Richards
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