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Pace Law Faculty Publications

1991

Free speech

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Eras Of The First Amendment, David S. Yassky Jan 1991

Eras Of The First Amendment, David S. Yassky

Pace Law Faculty Publications

Part I will begin the story with the Founders' understanding of the structural role of the First Amendment. In this understanding, the First Amendment served as a bulwark of state independence. Along with the rest of the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment had as its primary purpose maintenance of the federal system--or, more precisely, protection of the states against federal government overreaching. The Founders' plan left the individual states entirely free to regulate speech, while strictly prohibiting the federal government from displacing the states' various speech regimes.

When the Civil War dramatically reshaped the federal-state relationship, the structural purpose ...