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FAN 13.3 (First Amendment News) New Study Reveals Politics of Justices’ Protection of Free Speech

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4 Responses

  1. AndyK says:

    This is only of marginal help, because it doesn’t distinguish types of institutional speaker. Campaign finance prosecutions have been liberals cracking down on conservatives. Elementary school speech cases are conservatives cracking down on liberals. College cases have been a mix (but more often conservatives on the receiving end). Abortion picketing— well, you know how that falls.

    So once you weight based on type of institutional speaker—- what’s the result? I doubt Thomas is ideologically motivated when it comes to primary school speech— he just thinks schools have plenary authority in loco parentis.

    So can we weight for this and find who is *really* biased? Or does the identification of how to weight and what institutions justices trust or mistrust in itself give us good information?

    • Brett Bellmore says:

      Elementary school cases have been something of a mixed bag, there’s been quite a lot of liberal censorship of conservative views at the k-12 level. Even detention for the kid who chews a toaster pastry into a gun can be seen in this light.

      The study could, I think, have benefited from an analysis of the relationship between the justice’s party, and the party of the censor, not just the party of the censored. This makes more sense of the campaign finance/censorship cases, which were excluded on the basis that the law is nominally viewpoint neutral, but, of course, this does not mean the people applying it are.

  2. Howard Wasserman says:

    Along the same lines–is there a problem relying entirely on results and votes rather than reasoning? This would be more meaningful if a justice came out diametrically opposite in two cases that were identical but for the identity and political persuasion of the speaker and that involved the same constitutional test, analysis, or standard.

  3. A White says:

    Thanks for Information Share, Great post

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