A strong stand on behalf of free speech is taken by Yale Law Professor Emerson in this carefully argued brief for the maintenance of the First Amendment. He deals in detail with free speech as a Western tradition and the sounding board of democracy. Allowing all evidence to be presented in debate, extending the boundaries of personal freedom to the limit of their rein, insuring citizen participation in decision-making and setting a balance between the status quo and social change--there is no more basic liberty. Professor Emerson defines lines of difference between speech and action to show that the State has no right to abridge the articulation of even the most detestable points of view. Usually the material to fit his abstract is the right of Communists to practice their politics openly and without fear of prosecution. But also dealt with is the law of libel and pornography -- which he declares should be abridged by law only when it injures minors. He also considers the question of realm, legislative, executive or judicial, the true responsibility and ability for the maintenance of this freedom lies. The lawyer, historian and civil libertarian in Emerson join to make a cleanly written and well-argued case for the law's burden. Who else in these days when Roman hands clasp Roman ears will speak out in defense of root liberties? An appendix of pertinent Supreme Court opinions follows the text.