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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 …


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. …


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 …


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.


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.


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 …


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 …


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 …


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.


Precedent And Speech, Randy J. Kozel Feb 2017

Precedent And Speech, Randy J. Kozel

Michigan Law Review

The U.S. Supreme Court has shown a notable willingness to reconsider its First Amendment precedents. In recent years, the Court has departed from its prior statements regarding the constitutional value of false speech. It has revamped its process for identifying categorical exceptions to First Amendment protection. It has changed its positions on corporate electioneering and aggregate campaign contributions. In short, it has revised the ground rules of expressive freedom in ways large and small. The Court generally describes its past decisions as enjoying a presumption of validity through the doctrine of stare decisis. This Article contends that within the context …


Property, Duress, And Consensual Relationships, David Blankfein-Tabachnick Apr 2016

Property, Duress, And Consensual Relationships, David Blankfein-Tabachnick

Michigan Law Review

Professor Seana Valentine Shiffrin has produced an exciting new book, Speech Matters: On Lying, Morality, and the Law. Shiffrin’s previous rigorous, careful, and morally sensitive work spans contract law, intellectual property, and the freedoms of association and expression. Speech Matters is in line with Shiffrin’s signature move: we ought to reform our social practices and legal and political institutions to, in various ways, address or accommodate moral values—here, a stringent moral prohibition against lying, a strident principle of promissory fidelity, that is, the principle that one ought to keep one’s promises, and the general value of veracity. The book …


Paths Of Resistance To Our Imperial First Amendment, Bertrall L. Ross Ii Apr 2015

Paths Of Resistance To Our Imperial First Amendment, Bertrall L. Ross Ii

Michigan Law Review

In the campaign finance realm, we are in the age of the imperial First Amendment. Over the past nine years, litigants bringing First Amendment claims against campaign finance regulations have prevailed in every case in the Supreme Court. A conservative core of five justices has developed virtually categorical protections for campaign speech and has continued to expand those protections into domains that states once had the authority to regulate. As the First Amendment’s empire expands, other values give way. Four key cases from this era illustrate the reach of this imperial First Amendment. In Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. v. …


Fighting Foreign-Corporate Political Access: Applying Corporate Veil-Piercing Doctrine To Domestic-Subsidiary Contributions, Ryan Rott Jan 2015

Fighting Foreign-Corporate Political Access: Applying Corporate Veil-Piercing Doctrine To Domestic-Subsidiary Contributions, Ryan Rott

Michigan Law Review

Campaign finance regulations limit speech. The laws preclude foreign nationals, including foreign corporations, from participating in U.S. politics via campaign contributions. The unusual characteristics of corporations, however, may allow foreign corporations to exploit a loophole in the regulatory regime. A foreign corporation may contribute to political campaigns by acquiring a domestic subsidiary and dominating it. This Note addresses how these unusual corporate behaviors enable foreign corporations to illegally corrupt the political process. This Note concludes that to close the loophole without violating the free speech rights of domestic subsidiaries, Congress should enact legislation which would apply corporate veil-piercing theory to …


A Disclosure-Focused Approach To Compelled Commercial Speech, Andrew C. Budzinski May 2014

A Disclosure-Focused Approach To Compelled Commercial Speech, Andrew C. Budzinski

Michigan Law Review

In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration passed a rule revising compelled disclaimers on tobacco products pursuant to the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The rule required that tobacco warnings include something new: all tobacco products now had to bear one of nine graphic images to accompany the text. Tobacco companies filed suit contesting the constitutionality of the rule, arguing that the government violated their right to free commercial speech by compelling disclosure of the graphic content. Yet First Amendment jurisprudence lacks a doctrinally consistent standard for reviewing such compelled disclosures. Courts’ analyses typically depend on whether the …


Is Religious Freedom Irrational?, Michael Stokes Paulsen Apr 2014

Is Religious Freedom Irrational?, Michael Stokes Paulsen

Michigan Law Review

Brian Leiter is almost exactly half right. There is no convincing secular-liberal argument for religious liberty, in the sense of unique accommodation of religious beliefs and practices specifically because they are religious. Indeed, from a thoroughgoing secularist perspective — from a stance of committed disbelief in the possible reality of God or religious truth, and perhaps also from the perspective of unswerving agnosticism — “toleration” of religion is almost intolerably foolish. Affirmatively protecting the free exercise of religion, in the strong sense of freedom of persons and groups to act on religious convictions in ways opposed to secular legal norms, …


Institutional Autonomy And Constitutional Structure, Randy J. Kozel Apr 2014

Institutional Autonomy And Constitutional Structure, Randy J. Kozel

Michigan Law Review

This Review makes two claims. The first is that Paul Horwitz’s excellent book, First Amendment Institutions, depicts the institutionalist movement in robust and provocative form. The second is that it would be a mistake to assume from its immersion in First Amendment jurisprudence (not to mention its title) that the book’s implications are limited to the First Amendment. Professor Horwitz presents First Amendment institutionalism as a wide-ranging theory of constitutional structure whose focus is as much on constraining the authority of political government as it is on facilitating expression. These are the terms on which the book’s argument — and, …


Fumbling The First Amendment: The Right Of Publicity Goes 2-0 Against Freedom Of Expression, Thomas E. Kadri Jan 2014

Fumbling The First Amendment: The Right Of Publicity Goes 2-0 Against Freedom Of Expression, Thomas E. Kadri

Michigan Law Review

Two circuits in one summer found in favor of college athletes in right-of-publicity suits filed against the makers of the NCAA Football videogame. Both panels split 2–1; both applied the transformative use test; both dissenters predicted chilling consequences. By insisting that the likeness of each player be “transformed,” the Third and Ninth Circuits employed a test that imperils the use of realistic depictions of public figures in expressive works. This standard could have frosty implications for artists in a range of media: docudramas, biographies, and works of historical fiction may be at risk. This Comment examines the tension between the …


Pro-Whistleblower Reform In The Post-Garcetti Era, Julian W. Kleinbrodt Oct 2013

Pro-Whistleblower Reform In The Post-Garcetti Era, Julian W. Kleinbrodt

Michigan Law Review

Whistleblowers who expose government ineptitude, inefficiency, and corruption are valuable assets to a well-functioning democracy. Until recently, the Connick–Pickering test governed public employee speech law; it gave First Amendment protection to government employees who spoke on matters of public concern—-such as whistleblowers-—so long as the government’s administrative concerns did not outweigh the employees’ free speech interests. The Supreme Court significantly curtailed the protection of such speech in its recent case, Garcetti v. Ceballos. This case created a categorical threshold requirement that afforded no protection to speech made as an employee rather than as a citizen. Garcetti’s problematic rule has forced …


Rethinking Reporter's Privilege, Ronnell Andersen Jones May 2013

Rethinking Reporter's Privilege, Ronnell Andersen Jones

Michigan Law Review

Forty years ago, in Branzburg v. Hayes, the Supreme Court made its first and only inquiry into the constitutional protection of the relationship between a reporter and a confidential source. This case - decided at a moment in American history in which the role of an investigative press, and of information provided by confidential sources, was coming to the forefront of public consciousness in a new and significant way - produced a reporter-focused "privilege" that is now widely regarded to be both doctrinally questionable and deeply inconsistent in application. Although the post-Branzburg privilege has been recognized as flawed in a …


Policeman, Citizen, Or Both? A Civilian Analogue Exception To Garcetti V. Ceballos, Caroline A. Flynn Mar 2013

Policeman, Citizen, Or Both? A Civilian Analogue Exception To Garcetti V. Ceballos, Caroline A. Flynn

Michigan Law Review

The First Amendment prohibits the government from leveraging its employment relationship with a public employee in order to silence the employee's speech. But the Supreme Court dramatically curtailed this right in Garcetti v. Ceballos by installing a categorical bar: if the public employee spoke "pursuant to her official duties," her First Amendment retaliation claim cannot proceed. Garcetti requires the employee to show that she was speaking entirely "as a citizen" and not at all "as an employee." But this is a false dichotomy - especially because the value of the employee's speech to the public is no less if she …


Commercial Speech In Crisis: Crisis Pregnancy Center Regulations And Definitions Of Commercial Speech, Kathryn E. Gilbert Feb 2013

Commercial Speech In Crisis: Crisis Pregnancy Center Regulations And Definitions Of Commercial Speech, Kathryn E. Gilbert

Michigan Law Review

Recent attempts to regulate Crisis Pregnancy Centers, pseudoclinics that surreptitiously aim to dissuade pregnant women from choosing abortion, have confronted the thorny problem of how to define commercial speech. The Supreme Court has offered three potential answers to this definitional quandary. This Note uses the Crisis Pregnancy Center cases to demonstrate that courts should use one of these solutions, the factor-based approach of Bolger v. Youngs Drugs Products Corp., to define commercial speech in the Crisis Pregnancy Center cases and elsewhere. In principle and in application, the Bolger factor-based approach succeeds in structuring commercial speech analysis at the margins of …


Graffiti Museum: A First Amendment Argument For Protecting Uncommissioned Art On Private Property, Margaret L. Mettler Nov 2012

Graffiti Museum: A First Amendment Argument For Protecting Uncommissioned Art On Private Property, Margaret L. Mettler

Michigan Law Review

Graffiti has long been a target of municipal legislation that aims to preserve property values, public safety, and aesthetic integrity in the community. Not only are graffitists at risk of criminal prosecution but property owners are subject to civil and criminal penalties for harboring graffiti on their land. Since the 1990s, most U.S. cities have promulgated graffiti abatement ordinances that require private property owners to remove graffiti from their land, often at their own expense. These ordinances define graffiti broadly to include essentially any surface marking applied without advance authorization from the property owner. Meanwhile, graffiti has risen in prominence …


Ideology 'All The Way Down'? An Empirical Study Of Establishment Clause Decisions In The Federal Courts, Gregory C. Sisk, Michael Heise May 2012

Ideology 'All The Way Down'? An Empirical Study Of Establishment Clause Decisions In The Federal Courts, Gregory C. Sisk, Michael Heise

Michigan Law Review

As part of our ongoing empirical examination of religious liberty decisions in the lower federal courts, we studied Establishment Clause rulings by federal court of appeals and district court judges from 1996 through 2005. The powerful role of political factors in Establishment Clause decisions appears undeniable and substantial, whether celebrated as the proper integration of political and moral reasoning into constitutional judging, shrugged off as mere realism about judges being motivated to promote their political attitudes, or deprecated as a troubling departure from the aspirational ideal of neutral and impartial judging. In the context of Church and State cases in …


Context And Trivia, Samuel Brenner Apr 2012

Context And Trivia, Samuel Brenner

Michigan Law Review

My academic mantra, writes Professor James C. Foster in the Introduction to BONG HiTS 4 JESUS: A Perfect Constitutional Storm in Alaska's Capital, which examines the history and development of the Supreme Court's decision in Morse v. Frederick, "[is] context, context, context" (p. 2). Foster, a political scientist at Oregon State University, argues that it is necessary to approach constitutional law "by situating the U.S. Supreme Court's ... doctrinal work within surrounding historical context, shorn of which doctrine is reduced to arid legal rules lacking meaning and significance" (p. 1). He seeks to do so in BONG HiTS 4 JESUS …


Citizens United And The Illusion Of Coherence, Richard L. Hasen Jan 2011

Citizens United And The Illusion Of Coherence, Richard L. Hasen

Michigan Law Review

The self-congratulatory tone of the majority and concurring opinions in last term's controversial Supreme Court blockbuster, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, extended beyond the trumpeting of an absolutist vision of the First Amendment that allows corporations to spend unlimited sums independently to support or oppose candidates for office. The triumphalism extended to the majority's view that it had imposed coherence on the unwieldy body of campaign finance jurisprudence by excising an "outlier" 1990 opinion, Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which had upheld such corporate limits, and parts of a 2003 opinion, McConnell v. FEC, extending Austin to unions …


Free Speech Federalism, Adam Winkler Nov 2009

Free Speech Federalism, Adam Winkler

Michigan Law Review

For decades, constitutional doctrine has held that the Constitution's guarantee of freedom of speech applies equally to laws adopted by the federal, state, and local governments. Nevertheless, the identity of the government actor behind a law may be a significant, if unrecognized, factor in free speech cases. This Article reports the results of a comprehensive study of core free speech cases decided by the federal courts over a 14-year period. The study finds that speech-restrictive laws adopted by the federal government are far more likely to be upheld than similar laws adopted by state and local governments. Courts applying strict …


Conditions On Taking The Initiative: The First Amendment Implications Of Subject Matter Restrictions On Ballot Initiatives, Anna Skiba-Crafts May 2009

Conditions On Taking The Initiative: The First Amendment Implications Of Subject Matter Restrictions On Ballot Initiatives, Anna Skiba-Crafts

Michigan Law Review

Nearly half of U.S. states offer a ballot initiative process that citizens may use to pass legislation or constitutional amendments by a popular vote. Some states, however, impose substantive restrictions on the types of initiatives citizens may submit to the ballot for a vote-precluding, for example, initiatives lowering drug penalties or initiatives related to religion. Circuit courts are split on whether and how such restrictions implicate the First Amendment. This Note argues that-rather than limiting "expressive conduct" protected only minimally by the First Amendment, or limiting pure conduct that does not garner any First Amendment protectionsubject matter restrictions on ballot …


The Life Of The Mind And A Life Of Meaning: Reflections On Fahrenheit 451, Rodney A. Smolla Apr 2009

The Life Of The Mind And A Life Of Meaning: Reflections On Fahrenheit 451, Rodney A. Smolla

Michigan Law Review

Fahrenheit 451 still speaks to us, vibrantly and passionately, still haunts and vexes and disturbs. The novel has sold millions of copies, was reset for a fiftieth anniversary printing, and continues to be assigned reading in middle school, high school, and college courses. That power to endure is well worth contemplation, both for what it says about Ray Bradbury's literary imagination, and, more powerfully, for what it teaches us about our recent past, our present, and our own imagined future. First Amendment jurisprudence has taken giant leaps since Fahrenheit 451 was written, and American society has managed to avoid the …