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Constitutional Law

First Amendment

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The Media Exemption Puzzle Of Campaign Finance Laws, Sonja R. West Jan 2016

The Media Exemption Puzzle Of Campaign Finance Laws, Sonja R. West

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In the 2010 case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the United States Supreme Court solidified the media exemption dilemma in campaign finance law. When attempting to address concerns about corporate campaign expenditures (i.e., corporate political speech), legislatures are now stuck between a rock and a hard place. Regulate media corporations, and they violate press freedoms. Exempt media corporations from the regulations, however, and they are accused of speaker discrimination.

Thus the question of how to treat the press in campaign finance law can no longer be ignored. Can legislatures, without running afoul of the First Amendment, ever ...


What Did The Supreme Court Hold In Heffernan V. City Of Paterson?, Michael Wells Jan 2016

What Did The Supreme Court Hold In Heffernan V. City Of Paterson?, Michael Wells

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As a favor to his mother, Jeffrey Heffernan picked up a political yard sign. His supervisors demoted him, in the mistaken belief that he had engaged in protected speech. In Heffernan v. City of Patterson, 136 S.Ct. 1412 (2016), the Supreme Court held that a public employee can sue a local government under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 when a supervisor acts for constitutionally impermissible motives, even though he has not in fact exercised First Amendment rights. But the grounds for that holding are unclear. The Court may have ruled that the city, through its police chief, violated Heffernan ...


When Immigrants Speak: The Precarious Status Of Non-Citizen Speech Under The First Amendment, Michael Kagan Jan 2016

When Immigrants Speak: The Precarious Status Of Non-Citizen Speech Under The First Amendment, Michael Kagan

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The legal protection of free speech for immigrants in the United States is surprisingly limited, and it may be under more threat than is commonly understood. Although many unauthorized immigrants have become politically active in campaigning for immigration reform, their ability to speak out publicly may depend more on political discretion than on the Constitutional protections that we normally take for granted. Potential threats to immigrant free speech may be seen in three areas of law. First, a broad claim has been made by the Department of Justice that immigrants who have not been legally admitted to the country have ...


The Story Of Me: The Underprotection Of Autobiographical Speech, Sonja R. West Oct 2006

The Story Of Me: The Underprotection Of Autobiographical Speech, Sonja R. West

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This Article begins the debate over the constitutional underprotection of autobiographical speech. While receiving significant historical, scientific, religious, and philosophical respect for centuries, the timehonored practice of talking about yourself has been ignored by legal scholars. A consequence of this oversight is that current free speech principles protect the autobiographies of the powerful but leave the stories of “ordinary” people vulnerable to challenge. Shifting attitudes about privacy combined with advanced technologies, meanwhile, have led to more people than ever before having both the desire and the means to tell their stories to a widespread audience. This Article argues that truthful ...


Section 1983, The First Amendment, And Public Employee Speech: Shaping The Right To Fit The Remedy (And Vice Versa), Michael Wells Apr 2001

Section 1983, The First Amendment, And Public Employee Speech: Shaping The Right To Fit The Remedy (And Vice Versa), Michael Wells

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This Article is not about theories of free speech and how they bear on the public employment context, nor does it contribute to the academic debate over what the aims of public employee speech law ought to be. I take the Court at its word when it says that its aim is to give substantial weight to both the value of speech and the government's interest as an employer. Unlike Massaro and Ingber, I take it as a given that the government may insist on hierarchy and obedience to authority in the workplace. Unlike Rosenthal, I begin from the ...