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Too Much Free Speech?

Randall P.Bezanson

Publication Year: 2012

Randall P. Bezanson takes up an essential and timely inquiry into the Constitutional limits of the Supreme Court's power to create, interpret, and enforce one of the essential rights of American citizens. Analyzing contemporary Supreme Court decisions from the past fifteen years, Bezanson argues that judicial interpretations have fundamentally and drastically expanded the meaning and understanding of "speech." _x000B__x000B_Bezanson focuses on judgments such as the much-discussed Citizens United case, which granted the full measure of constitutional protection to speech by corporations, and the Doe vs. Reed case in Washington state, which recognized the signing of petitions and voting in elections as acts of free speech. In each case study, he questions whether the meaning of speech has been expanded too far and critically assesses the Supreme Court's methodology in reaching and explaining its expansive conclusions. _x000B_

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v

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I. Introduction

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pp. 1-4

In 1994 Stanley Fish, a peripatetic and controversial scholar at Duke, published a book titled There’s No Such thing as Free Speech, and It’s a Good thing Too. It was

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II. New Speakers

The First Amendment coverage question involves a number of linked questions: Who is a speaker, if there need be one? What counts as “speech”? What acts, including...

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Chapter 1. Corporations as Speakers: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 130 S. Ct. 876

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pp. 7-64

The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision was announced on January 21, 2010. Just weeks later it moved President Barack Obama in his State of the Union Address to make a special point of criticizing the Court, which had declared the...

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Chapter 2. Government and Its Speech Forum: Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, 129 S. Ct. 1125 (2009)

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pp. 65-110

A forty-five minute drive south from Salt Lake City is the city of Pleasant Grove, Utah, and within the city sits Pioneer Park—the site of a local controversy that launched a landmark expansion of the doctrine known as “government speech.” A...

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III. Forms of Speech

What, exactly, is this thing we call speech? Is it expression with a cognitive meaning or message, say an argument or analysis or fact? Or is it also a metaphor of meaning, sensual, aesthetic, constructed by an audience...

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Chapter 3. Expressive Conduct Unleashed: Hurlye v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston, 515 U.S. 557 (1995)1

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pp. 113-153

With the Hurley case we pursue the questions of speech and its source, nature, and meaning under the First Amendment. What if speech might exist even in the absence of a creator and an expressive object? Can constitutionally recognized speech emerge “out of thin air?” Indeed, with aesthetic expression, might...

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Chapter 4. Speech out of Thin Air: Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 530 U.S. 640 (2000)

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pp. 154-180

Since age eight, James Dale had been a Scout in his home town of Monmouth, New Jersey. He began scouting as a Cub Scout, then advanced to Boy Scouts. By 1988, when he finished as a youth Scout on his eighteenth birthday, he had earned twenty-five merit badges and had become an Eagle Scout, one of the highest...

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IV. Voting as Speaking, Expressive Association, and Privacy

Our final question, which we will explore through the recent Doe case and a gay rights referendum in Washington State, involves expansion of free speech to the largely...

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Chapter 5. The Secret Ballot: Voting as Speech: Doe v. Reed, 130 S. Ct. 2811 (2010)

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pp. 183-236

On January 28, 2009, Senator Ed Murray led a group of Washington State senators in introducing Senate Bill 5688, a piece of legislation that would come to be known as the “Everything but Marriage Bill.” The bill’s statement of purpose declared...

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V. Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Free Speech?

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pp. 237-258

The question we have been examining in this book is limited but fundamental: how should the Supreme Court’s recent definitional expansions of the meaning and scope of “speech” protected by the First Amendment...


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pp. 259-264


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pp. 265-266

About the Author, Production Notes, Back Cover

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pp. 267

E-ISBN-13: 9780252094224
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252037115

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2012