Over the past four decades, the political economy of the First Amendment has undergone a significant shift. If in the early twentieth century winners in First Amendment cases tended to be representatives of the marginalized and the disenfranchised, these days, they are much more likely to be corporations and other powerful actors. This Essay excavates the causes of that change and suggests how it might be remedied. It argues that the shift in[...]
The Supreme Court’s “weaponized” First Amendment has been its strongest antiregulatory tool in recent decades, slashing campaign-finance regulation, public-sector union financing, and pharmaceutical regulation, and threatening a broader remit. Along with others, I have previously criticized these developments as a “new Lochnerism.” In this Essay, part of a Columbia Law Review[...]
What can the First Amendment accomplish in society? In particular, can it foster equality? This Essay, written for Columbia Law Review’s 2018 Symposium on equality and the First Amendment, argues that, if the question is whether freedom of speech could serve equality, the answer is yes. Freedom of speech can serve nearly[...]
Any progressive agenda for change will require robust exercise of speech and associational rights that law currently restricts for labor unions. Although the Supreme Court’s conservative First Amendment judicial activism has raised doubts about whether constitutional protection for free speech can serve progressive ends, this Essay identifies a silver lining to the deregulatory use of the First Amendment. The Roberts Court’s extension of heightened[...]
The vision of free expression that characterized much of the twentieth century is inadequate to protect free expression today.
The twentieth century featured a dyadic or dualist model of speech regulation with two basic kinds of players: territorial governments on the one hand, and speakers on the other. The twenty-first-century model is pluralist, with multiple players. It is easiest to think of it as a triangle. On one corner are nation-states[...]