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Constitutional Law

First Amendment

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Nobody's Fools: The Rational Audience As First Amendment Ideal, Lyrissa Barnett Lidsky Jan 2010

Nobody's Fools: The Rational Audience As First Amendment Ideal, Lyrissa Barnett Lidsky

UF Law Faculty Publications

Assumptions about audiences shape the outcomes of First Amendment cases. Yet the Supreme Court rarely specifies what its assumptions about audiences are, much less attempts to justify them. Drawing on literary theory, this Article identifies and defends two critical assumptions that emerge from First Amendment cases involving so-called core speech. The first is that audiences are capable of rationally assessing the truth, quality, and credibility of core speech. The second is that more speech is generally preferable to less. These assumptions, which I refer to collectively as the rational audience model, lie at the heart of the marketplace of ideas ...