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First Amendment

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Voting While Trans: How Voter Id Laws Unconstitutionally Compel The Speech Of Trans Voters, Emmy Maluf Mar 2024

Voting While Trans: How Voter Id Laws Unconstitutionally Compel The Speech Of Trans Voters, Emmy Maluf

Michigan Law Review

Thirty-five states currently request or require identification documents for in-person voting, and these requirements uniquely impact transgender voters. Of the more than 697,800 voting-eligible trans people living in states that conduct primarily in-person elections, almost half (43 percent) lack documents that correctly reflect their name or gender. When an ID does not align with a trans voter’s gender presentation, the voter may be disenfranchised—either because a poll worker denies them the right to cast a ballot or because the voter ID requirement chills their participation in the first place. Further, when a trans voter presents an ID that does not …


Nft For Eternity, Hadar Y. Jabotinsky, Michal Lavi Apr 2023

Nft For Eternity, Hadar Y. Jabotinsky, Michal Lavi

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are unique tokens stored on a digital ledger – the blockchain. They are meant to represent unique, non-interchangeable digital assets, as there is only one token with that exact data. Moreover, the information attached to the token cannot be altered as on a regular database. While copies of these digital items are available to all, NFTs are tracked on blockchains to provide the owner with proof of ownership. This possibility of buying and owning digital assets can be attractive to many individuals.

NFTs are presently at the stage of early adoption and their uses are expanding. In …


Mandating Repair Scores, Aaron Perzanowski Mar 2023

Mandating Repair Scores, Aaron Perzanowski

Articles

Restrictions on the repair of consumer goods have generated no shortage of policy proposals. This Article considers the empirical and legal case for one particular intervention—requiring firms to calculate and disclose their products’ scores on a uniform reparability index. These repair scores would provide consumers with salient information at or before the point of sale, enabling them to compare products on the basis of the ease and cost of repair. There is considerable empirical research, including assessments of France’s implementation of a similar requirement in recent years, suggesting that repair scores would both inform and empower consumers. Despite likely First …


States Have Long Tried To Ban Ideas From The Classroom: The Current Road Brings A Fresh Evil, Leonard Niehoff Jan 2023

States Have Long Tried To Ban Ideas From The Classroom: The Current Road Brings A Fresh Evil, Leonard Niehoff

Other Publications

Efforts by state and local officials to ban ideas and books from public school classrooms are nothing new. Recent attempts to do so, however, have a uniquely pernicious characteristic. The current wave of bans doesn’t just seek to censor thoughts or words; it seeks to censor identity.


Terrible Freedom, Ambiguous Authenticity, And The Pragmatism Of The Endangered: Why Free Speech In Law School Gets Complicated, Leonard M. Niehoff Jan 2023

Terrible Freedom, Ambiguous Authenticity, And The Pragmatism Of The Endangered: Why Free Speech In Law School Gets Complicated, Leonard M. Niehoff

Articles

We idealize colleges and universities as places of unfettered inquiry, where freedom of expression flourishes. The Supreme Court has described the university classroom as “peculiarly the ‘marketplace of ideas.’” It declared: “The Nation’s future depends upon leaders trained through wide exposure to that robust exchange of ideas which discovers truth out of a multitude of tongues, [rather] than through any kind of authoritative selection.” The exchange of competing ideas takes place not only in classrooms, but also in public spaces, dormitories, student organizations, and in countless other campus contexts.


Hard Truths: Libel By Implication Doctrine And The Need For A Uniform Standard, Carly Ryan Jan 2023

Hard Truths: Libel By Implication Doctrine And The Need For A Uniform Standard, Carly Ryan

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Since the inception of the tort of libel, claims against the media have created a tension between the First Amendment’s commitment to a free press and the desire to prevent reputational harm to individuals. Further complicating the issue are cases in which plaintiffs allege that literally true statements are defamatory based on implications created through juxtapositions or omissions of facts. This is known as libel by implication, a tort currently governed by states through a patchwork of varying standards and interpretations. Not only does the lack of uniformity leave journalists without due notice of the law in the jurisdictions they …


Unprecedented Precedent And Original Originalism: How The Supreme Court’S Decision In Dobbs Threatens Privacy And Free Speech Rights, Leonard Niehoff Jan 2023

Unprecedented Precedent And Original Originalism: How The Supreme Court’S Decision In Dobbs Threatens Privacy And Free Speech Rights, Leonard Niehoff

Articles

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has drawn considerable attention because of its reversal of Roe v. Wade and its rejection of a woman’s constitutional right to terminate her pregnancy. The Dobbs majority, and some of the concurring opinions, emphasized that the ruling was a narrow one. Nevertheless, there are reasons to think the influence of Dobbs may extend far beyond the specific constitutional issue the case addresses.

This article explains why Dobbs could have significant and unanticipated implications for the law of privacy and the law of free expression. I argue that two …


Private Censorship, Disinformation And The First Amendment: Rethinking Online Platforms Regulation In The Era Of A Global Pandemic, Tzu- Chiang Huang Sep 2022

Private Censorship, Disinformation And The First Amendment: Rethinking Online Platforms Regulation In The Era Of A Global Pandemic, Tzu- Chiang Huang

Michigan Technology Law Review

The proliferation of online disinformation and the rise of private censorship are paradigmatic examples of the challenges to traditional First Amendment jurisprudence in an algorithmic society. The limitations of traditional First Amendment jurisprudence are amplified by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in two ways. On the one hand, in the wake of the pandemic, we have entered an “infodemic” era where the volume of disinformation, as well as the harm it causes have reached unprecedented levels. For example, health disinformation has contributed to vaccine hesitancy. On the other hand, even though the proliferation of online disinformation seems to suggest …


Searching For Truth In The First Amendment's True Threat Doctrine, Renee Griffin Feb 2022

Searching For Truth In The First Amendment's True Threat Doctrine, Renee Griffin

Michigan Law Review

Threats of violence, even when not actually carried out, can inflict real damage. As such, state and federal laws criminalize threats in a wide range of circumstances. But threats are also speech, and free speech is broadly protected by the First Amendment. The criminalization of threats is nonetheless possible because of Supreme Court precedents denying First Amendment protection to “true threats.” Yet a crucial question remains unanswered: What counts as a true threat?

This Note examines courts’ attempts to answer this question and identifies the many ambiguities that have resulted from those attempts. In particular, this piece highlights three frontiers …


The Everyday First Amendment, Leonard M. Niehoff, Thomas Sullivan Jan 2022

The Everyday First Amendment, Leonard M. Niehoff, Thomas Sullivan

Articles

On June 26 and June 27, 2019, some twenty contenders for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States participated in two evenings of political debate. The outsized group included Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who was struggling to gain traction with voters. Shortly after the debate, while many viewers were conducting online searches to learn more about the candidates, Google temporarily suspended her campaign’s advertising account.

Google claimed that the interruption occurred because an automated system flagged unusual activity on the account. But Gabbard did not accept this explanation; she believed that Google deliberately had tried to undermine …


The Right To An Artificial Reality? Freedom Of Thought And The Fiction Of Philip K. Dick, Marc Jonathan Blitz Apr 2021

The Right To An Artificial Reality? Freedom Of Thought And The Fiction Of Philip K. Dick, Marc Jonathan Blitz

Michigan Technology Law Review

In Anarchy, State, and Utopia, the philosopher Robert Nozick describes what he calls an “Experience Machine.” In essence, it produces a form of virtual reality (VR). People can use it to immerse themselves in a custom-designed dream: They have the experience of climbing a mountain, reading a book, or conversing with a friend when they are actually lying isolated in a tank with electrodes feeding perceptions into their brain. Nozick describes the Experience Machine as part of a philosophical thought experiment—one designed to show that a valuable life consists of more than mental states, like those we receive in …


Race And The First Amendment: A Compendium Of Resources, Solomon F. Worlds, Leonard M. Niehoff Jan 2021

Race And The First Amendment: A Compendium Of Resources, Solomon F. Worlds, Leonard M. Niehoff

Articles

This article provides summaries of law review articles and books that consider the complex relationship between racial justice and free speech. It seeks to assist law students, legal scholars, judges, and practitioners to think more deeply about the intersection between these critically important values. It describes scholarship that views these values as complementary, but also scholarship that views them as conflicting.


Reclaiming Access To Truth In Reproductive Healthcare After National Institute Of Family & Life Advocates V. Becerra, Diane Kee Oct 2020

Reclaiming Access To Truth In Reproductive Healthcare After National Institute Of Family & Life Advocates V. Becerra, Diane Kee

Michigan Law Review

Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) are antiabortion organizations that seek to “intercept” people with unintended pregnancies to convince them to forego abortion. It is well documented that CPCs intentionally present themselves as medical professionals even when they lack licensure, while also providing medically inaccurate information on abortion. To combat the blatant deception committed by CPCs, California passed the Reproductive FACT Act in 2015. The Act required CPCs to post notices that disclosed their licensure status and informed potential clients that the state provided subsidized abortion and contraceptives. Soon after, CPCs brought First Amendment challenges to these disclosure requirements, claiming that the …


International Megan's Law As Compelled Speech, Alexandra R. Genord Jun 2020

International Megan's Law As Compelled Speech, Alexandra R. Genord

Michigan Law Review

“The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor, and is a covered sex offender pursuant to 22 United States Code Section 212b(c)(l).” International Megan’s Law (IML), passed in 2016, prohibits the State Department from issuing passports to individuals convicted of a sex offense against a minor unless those passports are branded with this phrase. The federal government's decision to brand its citizens’ passports with this stigmatizing message is novel and jarring, but the sole federal district court to consider a constitutional challenge to the passport identifier dismissed the plaintiffs’ First Amendment claim, deeming the provision government speech. …


A More Perfect Pickering Test: Janus V. Afscme Council 31 And The Problem Of Public Employee Speech, Alexandra J. Gilewicz May 2020

A More Perfect Pickering Test: Janus V. Afscme Council 31 And The Problem Of Public Employee Speech, Alexandra J. Gilewicz

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

In June 2018, the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited—and, for the American labor movement, long-feared—decision in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31. The decision is expected to have a major impact on public sector employee union membership, but could have further impact on public employees’ speech rights in the workplace. Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito’s broad interpretation of whether work-related speech constitutes a “matter of public concern” may have opened the floodgates to substantially more litigation by employees asserting that their employers have violated their First Amendment rights. Claims that would have previously been unequivocally foreclosed may now …


Policing Hate Speech And Extremism: A Taxonomy Of Arguments In Opposition, Leonard M. Niehoff Jun 2019

Policing Hate Speech And Extremism: A Taxonomy Of Arguments In Opposition, Leonard M. Niehoff

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Hate speech and extremist association do real and substantial harm to individuals, groups, and our society as a whole. Our common sense, experience, and empathy for the targets of extremism tell us that our laws should do more to address this issue. Current reform efforts have therefore sought to revise our laws to do a better job at policing, prohibiting, and punishing hate speech and extremist association.

Efforts to do so, however, encounter numerous and substantial challenges. We can divide them into three general categories: definitional problems, operational problems, and conscientious problems. An informed understanding of these three categories of …


Janus's Two Faces, Kate Andrias Jun 2019

Janus's Two Faces, Kate Andrias

Articles

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus is the god of beginnings, transitions, and endings. He is often depicted as having two faces, one looking to the future and one to the past. The Supreme Court’s Janus v AFSCME case of last Term is fittingly named.1 Stunning in its disregard of principles of stare decisis, Janus overruled the forty-yearold precedent Abood v Detroit Board of Education. 2 The Janus decision marks the end of the post–New Deal compromise with respect to public sector unions and the FirstAmendment.Looking to the future, Janus lays the groundwork for further attack on labor rights—as …


Privacy, Property, And Publicity, Mark A. Lemley Jan 2019

Privacy, Property, And Publicity, Mark A. Lemley

Michigan Law Review

Review of Jennifer E. Rothman's The Right of Publicity: Privacy Reimagined for a Public World.


Catch And Kill: Does The First Amendment Protect Buying Speech To Bury It?, Leonard M. Niehoff Jan 2019

Catch And Kill: Does The First Amendment Protect Buying Speech To Bury It?, Leonard M. Niehoff

Articles

The news media usually chase stories in order to publish them—but sometimes not so much. In some instances, media entities vigorously pursue a story—and purchase the source’s right to tell it—for the specific purpose of ensuring that it does not see the light of day. This practice, commonly called “catch and kill,” has recently come under close scrutiny and raises a host of questions.

These include pragmatic questions: Does the practice work? Can the media entity (or a third-party beneficiary) really enforce the underlying contract? Doesn’t the source’s willingness to abide by the contract come down to a simple economic …


The Political Party System As A Public Forum: The Incoherence Of Parties As Free Speech Associations And A Proposed Correction, Wayne Batchis Jan 2019

The Political Party System As A Public Forum: The Incoherence Of Parties As Free Speech Associations And A Proposed Correction, Wayne Batchis

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

The Supreme Court’s jurisprudence addressing the associational rights of political parties is both highly consequential and deeply inconsistent. It dates back at least as far as the Court’s White Primary decisions more than a half-century ago. In recent decades, the Court has imposed an arguably ad hoc formula, striking down regulations on political parties on First Amendment grounds in some cases, while upholding them in others. From a jurisprudential perspective, critics might point to insufficiently principled distinctions between these cases. From a normative perspective, the very expansion of First Amendment rights to political parties, like the parallel extension to corporations …


Of Bee Stings, Mud Pies, And Outhouses: Exploring The Value Of Satire Through The Theory Of Useful Untruths, Leonard M. Niehoff Jan 2019

Of Bee Stings, Mud Pies, And Outhouses: Exploring The Value Of Satire Through The Theory Of Useful Untruths, Leonard M. Niehoff

Other Publications

In this article, I attempt to fill this conceptual gap within Hustler by offering a theory of how satire functions and why it has a distinctively important place in our public discourse. That theory draws on the work of philosophers like Kwame Anthony Appiah, Hans Vaihinger, Kendall Walton, and Lon Fuller, who have discussed the concept of “useful untruths”—lines of thought where we proceed as if something we know to be false is in fact true, because doing so serves a useful and valuable purpose. In my view, the philosophy of useful untruths can help us understand the complexity of …


Treading On Sacred Land: First Amendment Implications Of Ice's Targeting Of Churches, Gabriella M. D'Agostini Jan 2019

Treading On Sacred Land: First Amendment Implications Of Ice's Targeting Of Churches, Gabriella M. D'Agostini

Michigan Law Review

In the last few years, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has begun to target religious institutions—specifically churches—as a means to find and arrest undocumented immigrants. This technique is in legal tension with the First Amendment rights of free exercise of religion and free association. It is unclear, however, how these legal rights protect those most affected by this targeting tactic: undocumented immigrants. Undocumented immigrants may lack standing to challenge ICE’s tactics on their own and may require the help of related parties to protect their interests.

This Note explores a potential solution to the ambiguity surrounding undocumented immigrants’ protection under …


Return Of The Campus Speech Wars, Thomas Healy Jan 2019

Return Of The Campus Speech Wars, Thomas Healy

Michigan Law Review

Review of Erwin Chemerinsky and Howard Gillman's Free Speech on Campus.


Putting Accessible Expression To Bed, Jamila A. Odeh Jan 2019

Putting Accessible Expression To Bed, Jamila A. Odeh

Michigan Law Review

In 2011, the Occupy movement began. Occupiers seized space in dozens of public parks and in the American imagination, providing a compelling illustration of an inclusive format of political expression. In the courtroom, protesters sought injunctive relief on First Amendment grounds to protect the tent encampments where Occupiers slept. In 2017, the last of the Occupy litigation ended; but the ramifications the Occupy cases hold for the First Amendment and expressive conduct remain unexamined.

This Comment takes an in-depth look at the adjudication of Occupiers’ First Amendment interest in sleeping in public parks. It analyzes the adjudication of the Occupy …


You Can’T Say That!: Public Forum Doctrine And Viewpoint Discrimination In The Social Media Era, Micah Telegen Oct 2018

You Can’T Say That!: Public Forum Doctrine And Viewpoint Discrimination In The Social Media Era, Micah Telegen

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

The growing prevalence of privately-owned social media platforms is changing the way Americans and their governments communicate. This shift offers new opportunities, but also requires a reinterpretation of the First Amendment’s proscription of government limitations of speech. The public forum doctrine and its proscription of viewpoint discrimination seem particularly stretched by the digital revolution and the development of social media. In ongoing cases, litigants and courts have invoked the doctrine to limit the government’s ability to ‘block’ those who comment critically on government pages—much to the chagrin of those who note the private status of the companies hosting the pages …


Is There Any Silver Lining To Trinity Lutheran Church, Inc. V. Comer?, Caroline Mala Corbin May 2018

Is There Any Silver Lining To Trinity Lutheran Church, Inc. V. Comer?, Caroline Mala Corbin

Michigan Law Review Online

Trinity Lutheran Church, Inc. v. Comer is a significant setback for a strong separation of church and state. Missouri denied a playground grant to Trinity Lutheran because of a state constitutional provision that bans financial aid to churches. The church sued. The Supreme Court held not only that the Establishment Clause allowed the government to give taxpayer money to Trinity Lutheran, but that the Free Exercise Clause required it. The decision's many flaws are not the focus of this short Essay. Instead, this Essay dissects the Supreme Court's reasoning in order to apply it to current controversies in related areas …


University Regulation Of Student Speech: In Search Of A Unified Mode Of Analysis, Patrick Miller May 2018

University Regulation Of Student Speech: In Search Of A Unified Mode Of Analysis, Patrick Miller

Michigan Law Review

Universities are meant to be open marketplaces of ideas. This requires a commitment to both freedom of expression and inclusivity, two values that may conflict. When public universities seek to promote inclusivity by prohibiting or punishing speech that is protected by the First Amendment, courts must intervene to vindicate students’ rights. Currently, courts are split over the appropriate mode of analysis for reviewing public university regulation of student speech. This Note seeks to aid judicial review by clarifying the three existing approaches—public forum analysis, traditional categorical analysis, and a modified version of the Supreme Court’s education-specific speech doctrine—and proposes a …


Use Your Words: On The "Speech" In "Freedom Of Speech", Leslie Kendrick Mar 2018

Use Your Words: On The "Speech" In "Freedom Of Speech", Leslie Kendrick

Michigan Law Review

Freedom of speech occupies a special place in American society. But what counts as “speech” is a contentious issue. In countless cases, courts struggle to distinguish highly protected speech from easily regulated economic activity. Skeptics view this struggle as evidence that speech is, in fact, not distinguishable from other forms of activity.

This Article refutes that view. It argues that speech is indeed distinct from other forms of activity, and that even accounts that deny this distinction actually admit it. It then argues that the features that make speech distinctive as a phenomenon also make it distinctive as a normative …


The First Queer Right, Scott Skinner-Thompson Jan 2018

The First Queer Right, Scott Skinner-Thompson

Michigan Law Review

A review of Carlos A. Ball, The First Amendment and LGBT Equality: A Contentious History.


Is The First Amendment Obsolete?, Tim Wu Jan 2018

Is The First Amendment Obsolete?, Tim Wu

Michigan Law Review

The First Amendment was brought to life in a period, the twentieth century, when the political speech environment was markedly different than today’s. With respect to any given issue, speech was scarce and limited to a few newspapers, pamphlets or magazines. The law was embedded, therefore, with the presumption that the greatest threat to free speech was direct punishment of speakers by government.

Today, in the internet and social media age, it is no longer speech that is scarce—rather, it is the attention of listeners. And those who seek to control speech use new methods that rely on the weaponization …