Free Speech and Minority Rights: the One, Inc. v. Olesen Case

Policy Forum
November 24, 2014
12:00PM to 1:30PM
Policy Center with Foyer
Featuring Robert Corn-Revere, Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP; Lisa A. Linsky, Partner, McDermott Will & Emery LLP; and Jonathan Rauch, Author and Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution; moderated by Walter Olson, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute.

Sixty years ago the U.S. Supreme Court’s first case on gay rights was set in motion. It has been neglected through many of the intervening years but is now recognized as a landmark in the law of free speech. In One, Inc., v. Olesen, a fledgling Los Angeles–based magazine seeking to advance the interests of homosexuals sued after the Post Office declared it obscene and banned its distribution through the mail. Against long odds, facing the full force of the federal government, and with little support from the civil libertarians of the day, the small publication persevered to the Supreme Court—and its unexpected victory there opened up legal space for other dissenting and unpopular opinions to thrive. Join us as three experts discuss the One, Inc. case as a turning point in First Amendment law and an example of how freedom of expression works to vindicate the interests of those on society’s margins. We’ll also learn about ongoing efforts to get the U.S. government to open its archives to shed light on its handling of the case.