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“And Yet It Moves”—The First Amendment And Certainty, Ronald K.L. Collins Jan 2018

“And Yet It Moves”—The First Amendment And Certainty, Ronald K.L. Collins

Articles

Surprisingly few, if any, works on the First Amendment have explored the relation between free speech and certainty. The same holds true for decisional law. While this relationship is inherent in much free speech theory and doctrine, its treatment has nonetheless been rather opaque. In what follows, the author teases out— philosophically, textually, and operationally—the significance of that relationship and what it means for our First Amendment jurisprudence. In the process, he examines how the First Amendment operates to counter claims of certainty and likewise how it is employed to demand a degree of certainty from those who wish ...


Robotic Speakers And Human Listeners, Helen Norton Jan 2018

Robotic Speakers And Human Listeners, Helen Norton

Articles

In their new book, Robotica, Ron Collins and David Skover assert that we protect speech not so much because of its value to speakers but instead because of its affirmative value to listeners. If we assume that the First Amendment is largely, if not entirely, about serving listeners’ interests—in other words, that it’s listeners all the way down—what would a listener-centered approach to robotic speech require? This short symposium essay briefly discusses the complicated and sometimes even dark side of robotic speech from a listener-centered perspective.


Fearless Speech, Mary Anne Franks Jan 2018

Fearless Speech, Mary Anne Franks

Articles

The American conception of free speech is primarily defined as the freedom to say whatever one wants, with little regard for the quality, context, or impact of the speech. Thus, American free speech doctrine is often characterized as neutral with regard to the speaker and the content of speech; in practice, however, it consistently privileges powerful over vulnerable speakers and harmful over critical speech.

From Philadelphia to Skokie to Charlottesville, the First Amendment has been interpreted to protect speech by white men that silences and endangers women and minorities. As free speech doctrine and practice become increasingly concerned with private ...


(At Least) Thirteen Ways Of Looking At Election Lies, Helen Norton Jan 2018

(At Least) Thirteen Ways Of Looking At Election Lies, Helen Norton

Articles

Lies take many forms. Because lies vary so greatly in their motivations and consequences (among many other qualities), philosophers have long sought to catalog them to help make sense of their diversity and complexity. Legal scholars too have classified lies in various ways to explain why we punish some and protect others. This symposium essay offers yet another taxonomy of lies, focusing specifically on election lies — that is, lies told during or about elections. We can divide and describe election lies in a wide variety of ways: by speaker, by motive, by subject matter, by audience, by means of delivery ...


The First Queer Right, Scott Skinner-Thompson Jan 2018

The First Queer Right, Scott Skinner-Thompson

Articles

Current legal disputes may lead one to believe that the greatest threat to LGBTQ rights is the First Amendment’s protections for speech, association, and religion, which are currently being mustered to challenge LGBTQ anti-discrimination protections. But underappreciated today is the role of free speech and free association in advancing the well-being of LGBTQ individuals, as explained in Professor Carlos Ball’s important new book, The First Amendment and LGBT Equality: A Contentious History. In many ways the First Amendment’s protections for free expression and association operated as what I label “the first queer right.”

Decades before the Supreme ...


Panel 1: Robotic Speech And The First Amendment, Bruce E. H. Johnson, Helen Norton, David Skover Jan 2018

Panel 1: Robotic Speech And The First Amendment, Bruce E. H. Johnson, Helen Norton, David Skover

Articles

Moderator: Professor Gregory Silverman.

Book discussed: Ronald L. Collins & David M. Skover, Robotica: Speech Rights and Artificial Intelligence (Cambridge Univ. Press 2018).


Government Lies And The Press Clause, Helen Norton Jan 2018

Government Lies And The Press Clause, Helen Norton

Articles

This essay considers a particular universe of potentially dangerous governmental falsehoods: the government's lies and misrepresentations about and to the press.

Government's efforts to regulate private speakers' lies clearly implicate the First Amendment, as many (but not all) of our own lies are protected by the Free Speech Clause. But because the government does not have First Amendment rights of its own when it speaks, the constitutional limits, if any, on the government's own lies are considerably less clear.

In earlier work I have explored in some detail the Free Speech and Due Process Clauses as possible ...