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Holmes's Understanding Of His Clear-And-Present-Danger Test: Why Exactly Did He Require Imminence?, Vincent A. Blasi Jan 2020

Holmes's Understanding Of His Clear-And-Present-Danger Test: Why Exactly Did He Require Imminence?, Vincent A. Blasi

Faculty Scholarship

For all the suggestiveness and staying power of his market-in-ideas metaphor, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’s most significant influence on First Amendment law has turned out to be his notion that only imminent harm can justify punishment for expressions of opinion. This emphasis on the time dimension in the calculus of harm is now entrenched in modern doctrine. It is easy to imagine how First Amendment law might have developed differently had Holmes’s peculiar focus on imminence not been a factor in shaping how the freedom of speech has come to be understood in the United States.


Antitrust & Corruption: Overruling Noerr, Tim Wu Jan 2020

Antitrust & Corruption: Overruling Noerr, Tim Wu

Faculty Scholarship

We live in a time when concerns about influence over the American political process by powerful private interests have reached an apogee, both on the left and the right. Among the laws originally intended to fight excessive private influence over republican institutions were the antitrust laws, whose sponsors were concerned not just with monopoly, but also its influence over legislatures and politicians. While no one would claim that the antitrust laws were meant to be comprehensive anti-corruption laws, there can be little question that they were passed with concerns about the political influence of powerful firms and industry cartels.

Since ...


Fixing America's Founding, Maeve Glass Jan 2020

Fixing America's Founding, Maeve Glass

Faculty Scholarship

The forty-fifth presidency of the United States has sent lawyers reaching once more for the Founders’ dictionaries and legal treatises. In courtrooms, law schools, and media outlets across the country, the original meanings of the words etched into the U.S. Constitution in 1787 have become the staging ground for debates ranging from the power of a president to trademark his name in China to the rights of a legal permanent resident facing deportation. And yet, in this age when big data promises to solve potential challenges of interpretation and judges have for the most part agreed that original meaning ...


A Skeptical View Of Information Fiduciaries, Lina Khan, David E. Pozen Jan 2019

A Skeptical View Of Information Fiduciaries, Lina Khan, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

The concept of “information fiduciaries” has surged to the forefront of debates on online-platform regulation. Developed by Professor Jack Balkin, the concept is meant to rebalance the relationship between ordinary individuals and the digital companies that accumulate, analyze, and sell their personal data for profit. Just as the law imposes special duties of care, confidentiality, and loyalty on doctors, lawyers, and accountants vis-à-vis their patients and clients, Balkin argues, so too should it impose special duties on corporations such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter vis-à-vis their end users. Over the past several years, this argument has garnered remarkably broad support ...


Seeing Transparency More Clearly, David E. Pozen Jan 2019

Seeing Transparency More Clearly, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

In recent years, transparency has been proposed as the solution to, and the cause of, a remarkable range of public problems. The proliferation of seemingly contradictory claims about transparency becomes less puzzling, this essay argues, when one appreciates that transparency is not, in itself, a coherent normative ideal. Nor does it have a straightforward instrumental relationship to any primary goals of governance. To gain greater purchase on how transparency policies operate, scholars must therefore move beyond abstract assumptions and drill down into the specific legal, institutional, historical, political, and cultural contexts in which these policies are crafted and implemented. The ...


Speech And Exercise By Private Individuals And Organizations, Kent Greenawalt Jan 2019

Speech And Exercise By Private Individuals And Organizations, Kent Greenawalt

Faculty Scholarship

A central issue about redundancy concerns how far the exercise of religion is simply a form of speech that is, and should be, constitutionally protected only to the extent that reaches speech generally. Insofar as a constitutional analysis leaves flexibility, we have questions about wise legislative choices. To consider these issues carefully, we need to have a sense of what counts as relevant speech and the exercise of religion. That is the focus of this article.

It addresses the basic categorization of what counts as “speech” for freedom of speech and what counts as religious exercise when each is engaged ...


Constitutional Moral Hazard And Campus Speech, Jamal Greene Jan 2019

Constitutional Moral Hazard And Campus Speech, Jamal Greene

Faculty Scholarship

One underappreciated cost of constitutional rights enforcement is moral hazard. In economics, moral hazard refers to the increased propensity of insured individuals to engage in costly behavior. This Essay concerns what I call “constitutional moral hazard,” defined as the use of constitutional rights (or their conspicuous absence) to shield potentially destructive behavior from moral or pragmatic assessment. What I have in mind here is not simply the risk that people will make poor decisions when they have a right to do so, but that people may, at times, make poor decisions because they have a right. Moral hazard is not ...


A Skeptical View Of Information Fiduciaries, Lina M. Khan, David E. Pozen Jan 2019

A Skeptical View Of Information Fiduciaries, Lina M. Khan, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

The concept of "information fiduciaries" has surged to the forefront of debates on online platform regulation. Developed by Professor Jack Balkin, the concept is meant to rebalance the relationship between ordinary individuals and the digital companies that accumulate, analyze, and sell their personal data for profit. Just as the law imposes special duties of care, confidentiality, and loyalty on doctors, lawyers, and accountants vis- à -vis their patients and clients, Balkin argues, so too should it impose special duties on corporations such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter vis-à-vis their end users. Over the past several years, this argument has garnered ...


The Search For An Egalitarian First Amendment, Jeremy K. Kessler, David E. Pozen Jan 2018

The Search For An Egalitarian First Amendment, Jeremy K. Kessler, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

Over the past decade, the Roberts Court has handed down a series of rulings that demonstrate the degree to which the First Amendment can be used to thwart economic and social welfare regulation – generating widespread accusations that the Court has created a "new Lochner." This introduction to the Columbia Law Review's Symposium on Free Expression in an Age of Inequality takes up three questions raised by these developments: Why has First Amendment law become such a prominent site for struggles over socioeconomic inequality? Does the First Amendment tradition contain egalitarian elements that could be recovered? And what might a ...


Transparency's Ideological Drift, David E. Pozen Jan 2018

Transparency's Ideological Drift, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

In the formative periods of American "open government" law, the idea of transparency was linked with progressive politics. Advocates of transparency understood themselves to be promoting values such as bureaucratic rationality, social justice, and trust in public institutions. Transparency was meant to make government stronger and more egalitarian. In the twenty-first century, transparency is doing different work. Although a wide range of actors appeal to transparency in a wide range of contexts, the dominant strain in the policy discourse emphasizes its capacity to check administrative abuse, enhance private choice, and reduce other forms of regulation. Transparency is meant to make ...


Beyond The Bosses' Constitution: The First Amendment And Class Entrenchment, Jedediah S. Purdy Jan 2018

Beyond The Bosses' Constitution: The First Amendment And Class Entrenchment, Jedediah S. Purdy

Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court’s “weaponized” First Amendment has been its strongest antiregulatory tool in recent decades, slashing campaign-finance regulation, public-sector union financing, and pharmaceutical regulation, and threatening a broader remit. Along with others, I have previously criticized these developments as a “new Lochnerism.” In this Essay, part of a Columbia Law Review Symposium, I press beyond these criticisms to diagnose the ideological outlook of these opinions and to propose an alternative. The leading decisions of the antiregulatory First Amendment often associate free speech with a vision of market efficiency; but, I argue, closer to their heart is antistatist fear of ...


Is The First Amendment Obsolete?, Tim Wu Jan 2018

Is The First Amendment Obsolete?, Tim Wu

Faculty Scholarship

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 ...


Transparency's Ideological Drift, David E. Pozen Jan 2018

Transparency's Ideological Drift, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

In the formative periods of American "open government" law, the idea of transparency was linked with progressive politics. Advocates of transparency understood themselves to be promoting values such as bureaucratic rationality, social justice, and trust in public institutions. Transparency was meant to make government stronger and more egalitarian. In the twenty-first century, transparency is doing different work. Although a wide range of actors appeal to transparency in a wide range of contexts, the dominant strain in the policy discourse emphasizes its capacity to check administrative abuse, enhance private choice, and reduce other forms of regulation. Transparency is meant to make ...


Learned Hand's Seven Other Ideas About The Freedom Of Speech, Vincent A. Blasi Jan 2018

Learned Hand's Seven Other Ideas About The Freedom Of Speech, Vincent A. Blasi

Faculty Scholarship

I say “other” because, regarding the freedom of speech, Learned Hand has suffered the not uncommon fate of having his best ideas either drowned out or credited exclusively to others due to the excessive attention that has been bestowed on one of his lesser ideas. Sitting as a district judge in the case of Masses Publishing Co. v. Patten, Hand wrote the earliest judicial opinion about the freedom of speech that has attained canonical status. He ruled that under the recently passed Espionage Act of 1917, writings critical of government cannot be grounds for imposing criminal punishment or the denial ...


The Supreme Court, Judicial Elections, And Dark Money, Richard Briffault Jan 2018

The Supreme Court, Judicial Elections, And Dark Money, Richard Briffault

Faculty Scholarship

Judges, even when popularly elected, are not representatives; they are not agents for their voters, nor should they take voter preferences into account in adjudicating cases. However, popularly elected judges are representatives for some election law purposes. Unlike other elected officials, judges are not politicians. But judges are policy-makers. Judicial elections are subject to the same constitutional doctrines that govern voting on legislators, executives, and ballot propositions. Except when they are not. The same First Amendment doctrine that protects campaign speech in legislative, executive, and ballot proposition elections applies to campaign speech in judicial elections – but not in quite the ...


Free Expression On Campus: Mitigating The Costs Of Contentious Speakers, Suzanne B. Goldberg Jan 2018

Free Expression On Campus: Mitigating The Costs Of Contentious Speakers, Suzanne B. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

“If you’re afraid to offend, you can’t be honest.”

“If you offend me, I can’t hear what you’re trying to tell me.”

—overheard on campus

The debate over how colleges and universities should respond to contentious guest speakers on campus is not a new one. A quick look back to the early 1990s, among other times, shows commentators squaring off much as they do today about the tensions between protecting free expression and ensuring meaningful equality.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the issues that contested speakers address are also much the same as they have been for several ...


The Search For An Egalitarian First Amendment, Jeremy K. Kessler, David E. Pozen Jan 2018

The Search For An Egalitarian First Amendment, Jeremy K. Kessler, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

Over the past decade, the Roberts Court has handed down a series of rulings that demonstrate the degree to which the First Amendment can be used to thwart economic and social welfare regulation – generating widespread accusations that the Court has created a "new Lochner." This introduction to the Columbia Law Review's Symposium on Free Expression in an Age of Inequality takes up three questions raised by these developments: Why has First Amendment law become such a prominent site for struggles over socioeconomic inequality? Does the First Amendment tradition contain egalitarian elements that could be recovered? And what might a ...


The Early Years Of First Amendment Lochnerism, Jeremy K. Kessler Jan 2016

The Early Years Of First Amendment Lochnerism, Jeremy K. Kessler

Faculty Scholarship

From Citizens United to Hobby Lobby, civil libertarian challenges to the regulation of economic activity are increasingly prevalent. Critics of this trend invoke the specter of Lochner v. New York. They suggest that the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and other legislative “conscience clauses” are being used to resurrect the economically libertarian substantive due process jurisprudence of the early twentieth century. Yet the worry that aggressive judicial enforcement of the First Amendment might erode democratic regulation of the economy and enhance the economic power of private actors has a long history. As this Article demonstrates, anxieties about such ...


The Early Years Of First Amendment Lochnerism, Jeremy K. Kessler Jan 2016

The Early Years Of First Amendment Lochnerism, Jeremy K. Kessler

Faculty Scholarship

From Citizens United to Hobby Lobby, civil libertarian challenges to the regulation of economic activity are increasingly prevalent. Critics of this trend invoke the specter of Lochner v. New York. They suggest that the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and other legislative "conscience clauses" are being used to resurrect the economically libertarian substantive due process jurisprudence of the early twentieth century. Yet the worry that aggressive judicial enforcement of the First Amendment might erode democratic regulation of the economy and enhance the economic power of private actors has a long history. As this Article demonstrates, anxieties about such ...


Supreme Court Amicus Brief Of 19 Corporate Law Professors, Friedrichs V. California Teachers Association, No. 14-915, John C. Coates, Iv, Lucian A. Bebchuk, Bernard S. Black, John C. Coffee Jr., James D. Cox, Ronald J. Gilson, Jeffrey N. Gordon, Lawrence A. Hamermesh, Henry Hansmann, Robert J. Jackson Jr., Marcel Kahan, Vikramaditya S. Khanna, Michael Klausner, Reinier Kraakman, Donald C. Langevoort, Edward B. Rock, Mark J. Roe, Helen S. Scott Jan 2015

Supreme Court Amicus Brief Of 19 Corporate Law Professors, Friedrichs V. California Teachers Association, No. 14-915, John C. Coates, Iv, Lucian A. Bebchuk, Bernard S. Black, John C. Coffee Jr., James D. Cox, Ronald J. Gilson, Jeffrey N. Gordon, Lawrence A. Hamermesh, Henry Hansmann, Robert J. Jackson Jr., Marcel Kahan, Vikramaditya S. Khanna, Michael Klausner, Reinier Kraakman, Donald C. Langevoort, Edward B. Rock, Mark J. Roe, Helen S. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court has looked to the rights of corporate shareholders in determining the rights of union members and non-members to control political spending, and vice versa. The Court sometimes assumes that if shareholders disapprove of corporate political expression, they can easily sell their shares or exercise control over corporate spending. This assumption is mistaken. Because of how capital is saved and invested, most individual shareholders cannot obtain full information about corporate political activities, even after the fact, nor can they prevent their savings from being used to speak in ways with which they disagree. Individual shareholders have no “opt ...


Uncivil Obedience, Jessica Bulman-Pozen, David E. Pozen Jan 2015

Uncivil Obedience, Jessica Bulman-Pozen, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

Scholars and activists have long been interested in conscientious law-breaking as a means of dissent. The civil disobedient violates the law in a bid to highlight its illegitimacy and motivate reform. A less heralded form of social action, however, involves nearly the opposite approach. As a wide range of examples attest, dissenters may also seek to disrupt legal regimes through hyperbolic, literalistic, or otherwise unanticipated adherence to their formal rules.

This Article asks how to make sense of these more paradoxical protests, involving not explicit law-breaking but rather extreme law following. We seek to identify, elucidate, and call attention to ...


The Administrative Origins Of Modern Civil Liberties Law, Jeremy K. Kessler Jan 2014

The Administrative Origins Of Modern Civil Liberties Law, Jeremy K. Kessler

Faculty Scholarship

This Article offers a new explanation for the puzzling origin of modern civil liberties law. Legal scholars have long sought to explain how Progressive lawyers and intellectuals skeptical of individual rights and committed to a strong, activist state came to advocate for robust First Amendment protections after World War I. Most attempts to solve this puzzle focus on the executive branch’s suppression of dissent during World War I and the Red Scare. Once Progressives realized that a powerful administrative state risked stifling debate and deliberation within civil society, the story goes, they turned to civil liberties law in order ...


The Administrative Origins Of Modern Civil Liberties Law, Jeremy K. Kessler Jan 2014

The Administrative Origins Of Modern Civil Liberties Law, Jeremy K. Kessler

Faculty Scholarship

This Article offers a new explanation for the puzzling origin of modern civil liberties law. Legal scholars have long sought to explain how Progressive lawyers and intellectuals skeptical of individual rights and committed to a strong, activist state came to advocate for robust First Amendment protections after World War I. Most attempts to solve this puzzle focus on the executive branch's suppression of dissent during World War I and the Red Scare. Once Progressives realized that a powerful administrative state risked stifling debate and deliberation within civil society, the story goes, they turned to civil liberties law in order ...


Market Structure And Political Law: A Taxonomy Of Power, Zephyr Teachout, Lina M. Khan Jan 2014

Market Structure And Political Law: A Taxonomy Of Power, Zephyr Teachout, Lina M. Khan

Faculty Scholarship

The goal of this Article is to create a way of seeing how market structure is innately political. It provides a taxonomy of ways in which large companies frequently exercise powers that possess the character of governance. Broadly, these exercises of power map onto three bodies of activity we generally assign to government: to set policy, to regulate markets, and to tax. We add a fourth category – which we call "dominance," after Brandeis – as a kind of catchall describing the other political impacts. The activities we outline will not always fit neatly into these categories, nor do all companies engage ...


Machine Speech, Tim Wu Jan 2013

Machine Speech, Tim Wu

Faculty Scholarship

Computers are making an increasing number of important decisions in our lives. They fly airplanes, navigate traffic, and even recommend books. In the process, computers reason through automated algorithms and constantly send and receive information, sometimes in ways that mimic human expression. When can such communications, called here “algorithmic outputs,” claim First Amendment protection?


Seana Shiffrin's Thinker-Based Freedom Of Speech: A Response, Vincent A. Blasi Jan 2011

Seana Shiffrin's Thinker-Based Freedom Of Speech: A Response, Vincent A. Blasi

Faculty Scholarship

As an instinctive consequentialist so far as First Amendment theory is concerned, I have to admit that I have never been so tempted by a non-consequentialist account as I am by what Professor Shiffrin has produced. My principal interest is the history of ideas regarding the freedom of speech. I have long been struck by how so many of the canonical writers on the subject have built their arguments from the starting point of the central importance of the freedom of thought. This is true of Milton and Mill in a basic, explicit, straightforward way (if Milton can ever be ...


Shouting "Fire!" In A Theater And Vilifying Corn Dealers, Vincent A. Blasi Jan 2011

Shouting "Fire!" In A Theater And Vilifying Corn Dealers, Vincent A. Blasi

Faculty Scholarship

Five years ago, Fred Schauer published an article with the intriguing title: "Do Cases Make Bad Law?" Playing off Holmes' observation that "[g]reat cases like hard cases make bad law," Schauer explored the possibility, as he put it, that "it is not just great cases and hard cases that make bad law, but simply the deciding of cases that makes bad law.” His concern, confirmed and deepened by his characteristically balanced inquiry, was that general principles forged in the resolution of specific legal disputes can suffer by virtue of that provenance. Because such principles by definition are meant to ...


Subsidizing The Press, David M. Schizer Jan 2011

Subsidizing The Press, David M. Schizer

Faculty Scholarship

Through beat reporting and investigative journalism, reporters monitor the foundational institutions of our society. This reporting has value even to those who never buy a newspaper or read a website. For example, subscribers and nonsubscribers alike benefit when government officials respond to a critical news story by eliminating an abusive practice. Yet unfortunately, the professional press is experiencing a severe economic crisis. Layoffs are pervasive, and news organizations across the nation are on the brink of insolvency. As a result, a number of commentators have proposed government subsidies for the press. Yet if the press becomes financially dependent on the ...


Corporate Political Speech: Who Decides, Lucian A. Bebchuk, Robert J. Jackson Jr. Jan 2010

Corporate Political Speech: Who Decides, Lucian A. Bebchuk, Robert J. Jackson Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court spoke clearly this Term on the issue of corporate political speech, concluding in Citizens United v. FEC' that the First Amendment protects corporations' freedom to spend corporate funds on indirect support of political candidates. 2 Constitutional law scholars will long debate the wisdom of that holding, as do the authors of the two other Comments in this issue.3 In contrast, this Comment accepts as given that corporations may not be limited from spending money on politics should they decide to speak. We focus instead on an important question left unanswered by Citizens United: who should have ...


Subsidizing The Press, David M. Schizer Jan 2010

Subsidizing The Press, David M. Schizer

Faculty Scholarship

Information is the lifeblood of a free society, and the professional press is a crucial source of information. For many years, the positive externalities from investigative and beat reporting were cross-subsidized by robust advertising and subscription revenue. Yet the professional press is experiencing a severe economic crisis, and news organizations across the nation are on the brink of insolvency. When an activity that generates positive externalities is undersupplied, the textbook policy response is a government subsidy. Yet if the press becomes financially dependent on the government, would they be deterred from monitoring and criticizing the government? If so, the subsidy ...