Freedom of speech is not only a bedrock principle of American constitutionalism; it is also a part of the American identity. Because of the centrality of this concept in American culture, I suspect that more than a few readers of this volume were surprised to learn that the United States Supreme Court did not begin to strongly protect freedom of speech until well into the 1930s. To a large degree, the evolution of free speech doctrine in the approximately seventy years of its existence has been a story of progress, that is, of an ever-expanding conception of the breadth and depth of First Amendment protection. However, there are enough examples of judicial retrenchment to caution against indulging the assumption that continued progress in the actualization of free speech values in the United States is inevitable. The experience of the Second Red Scare following World War II teaches that even such strongly protective (and canonical) doctrines as the clear and present danger test are just one Supreme Court decision away from evisceration, if the setting is right. Might the War on Terrorism provide such a setting? The more recent Supreme Court decisions regarding sexual expression and the public forum doctrine, to take just two examples, remind that the Court's decisionmaking often involves negotiation among justices who seldom are of one mind on how to draw the boundaries between government control and individual right in hard cases.
Any candid look at American history and constitutional jurisprudence reveals that freedom of speech, although revered as an abstract concept, is often contested in real world applications. Vexing questions concerning the application of freedom of speech are on the American agenda for the twenty-first century. Should free speech protections be scaled back, maintained, or strengthened, as the United States settles into what appears to be a global War on Terrorism? Should freedom