A powerful Foreword by famed legal scholar and Supreme Court advocate Erwin Chemerinksy contextualizes the issues and the intersection of public policy and the First Amendment.


     “To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?”

 – Cicero, 46 BCE

Chapter 1 – From Sandy Beaches to Bloody Thursday

     Broken bottles under children’s feet
     Bodies strewn across the dead end street
     But I won’t heed the battle call
     It puts my back up
     Puts my back up against the wall

     – “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” U2 (1983).

Chapter 2 – The Gathering Storm

     “He was just an inexplicable man who had appeared from the mist.”

     – Secretary of Labor Francis Perkins, first female Cabinet member in American history.

Chapter 3 – All Rise: The First Trial

     “Even while they are tyrannical, they still claim to be humanitarian.  I should regret my taking the risks of coming in the first place.”

     – Chinese immigrant writing carved into the wall by unknown detainee, Angel Island, early 20th century.

Chapter 4 – Reloaded: Take Two

      “It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.”

      – Voltaire, The Age of Louis XIV (1751).

Chapter 5 – Political Intrigue and Supreme Court Appeals

     The bosses brought a trial to deport him over the sea,
     But the judge said, “He’s an honest man, I got to set him free.”
    Then they brought another trial to frame him if they can
    But right by Harry Bridges stands every working man!

     – “The Ballad of Harry Bridges,” by Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, and Millard Lampell (1942).

Chapter 6 – Rearming: A Third Act

     “The law has yet another hold on you.”

– William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice (1596).

Chapter 7 – Prison for Speech

     “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.  If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.”

United States Supreme Court in West Virginia v. Barnette (1943).

Chapter 8 – The Final Campaign

     “There is a point beyond which even justice becomes unjust.”

     – Sophocles, Electra 410 BCE.

Epilogue – HUAC’s Last Stand as the Curtains Close on the Cast of Characters

     “What’s past is prologue.”

     – William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act 2, Scene 1 (1610).

Policy – Where the Legal System Failed for 20 Years

     “[T]here is, even now, something of ill-omen amongst us. I mean the increasing disregard for law which pervades the country; the growing disposition to substitute the wild and furious passions, in lieu of the sober judgment of the courts; and the worse than savage mobs, for the executive ministers of justice.”

     – Abraham Lincoln, 1838, commenting upon the outbreak of mob violence across America.

    “Justice is incidental to law and order.”

     – J. Edgar Hoover, FBI Director (1935-1972).

Burning Bridges Book