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Freedom of speech

University of Michigan Law School

2008

Civil Rights and Discrimination

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Myth And The Reality Of American Constitutional Exceptionalism, Stephen Gardbaum Dec 2008

The Myth And The Reality Of American Constitutional Exceptionalism, Stephen Gardbaum

Michigan Law Review

This Article critically evaluates the widely held view inside and outside the United States that American constitutional rights jurisprudence is exceptional. There are two dimensions to this perceived American exceptionalism: the content and the structure of constitutional rights. On content, the claim focuses mainly on the age, brevity, and terseness of the text and on the unusually high value attributed to free speech. On structure, the claim is primarily threefold. First, the United States has a more categorical conception of constitutional rights than other countries. Second, the United States has an exceptionally sharp public/private division in the scope of constitutional …