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Constitutional Law

First Amendment

2003

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Ideological Conflict And The First Amendment, Steven J. Heyman Feb 2003

Ideological Conflict And The First Amendment, Steven J. Heyman

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According to the prevailing view, constitutional interpretation ideally should consist in the development and application of a single, unified set of principles. This Essay challenges this position in the context of free speech jurisprudence. As the constitutional debates of 1787-91 show, the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights did not reflect a single view, but instead were intended to reconcile conflicting views on the proper relationship between liberty and government. In order to obtain the broad support necessary for adoption, the Bill of Rights was deliberately drafted on the level of general principles that could command a consensus. When ...