First Amendment Law
About This Class
This course covers the core issues of free speech, free press, freedom of religion, and the establishment clause. We will discuss important Supreme Court cases dealing with the following topics among others: advocacy of unlawful action; fighting words; hate speech; libel; revelation of private facts; obscenity; pornography; commercial speech; prior restraints; content-based vs. content-neutral restrictions; the public forum doctrine; government speech, including government as educator; reporter’s privilege; government as employer; the right not to speak and freedom of association; access to the mass media; broadcasting and content regulation; religious arguments in the lawmaking process; religious symbols in governmental space; prayer in public school; public funding of religious schools; and exemptions and accommodations for the practice of religion. Opportunity will be provided for students to perform one or more practice-oriented exercises. Although this is an elective course, it is strongly recommended that students take it in order to complete their basic understanding of Constitutional Law.
Method of Evaluation: Performance on the practice-oriented exercises and on the three-hour in-class exam. With the instructor’s permission, students may be able to prepare and submit a paper on a selected topic of First Amendment law in lieu of taking the final exam.