Const Law II: Free Speech

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
MON, TUE, WED 10:30 - 11:20 am TNH 3.129

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location
Final May 7, 2014 1:30 pm A-Z in 2.139


Professor Weinberg Constitutional Law II: Free Speech Spring 2014 This freshly developed course deals with the doctrinal frameworks, rules, and policies shaping American expressive and associational freedoms. It covers such topics as illegal advocacy and incitement to violence, harmful and obscene speech, racist and other hate speech, hostile, offended, or vulnerable audiences, video games featuring cruelty to people or animals, control of copyright and the ownership of speech, control of the press; the rights of whistle blowers or the press vs national security, commercial speech, political speech, government speech, freedom from indoctrination, rights to associate or to avoid association, the protection of children, the right not to speak, religious speech, speech in cyberspace, unusual modes of expression, and so on. Also covered is the overlay of general doctrines of prior restraint, “time, place, and manner,” the public forum, content-based vs. viewpoint-based regulation, speech vs. conduct, the public square and a public forum, and so forth. The course provides useful background for those interested in communications law, entertainment law, intellectual property, and the problems presented by electronic technologies. More generally, the subject is a significant component of business, publishing, political, religious, and personal litigation and counseling. The readings are in current or classic Supreme Court cases. The casebook is Shiffrin & Choper, The First Amendment (West, 5th ed., 2011) (paperback) and its 2013 Supplement. Later cases may be assigned by citation. The exam in this course is configured to give students significant power to personalize their exams. Students choose any two of the exam’s three typical essay questions to answer, discarding the third. In addition, the exam is completely open book: students may have with them their notes and outlines, any published materials they choose, and any technologies the Student Affairs Office permits. Also, the exam, though its coverage is thorough and deep, is brief. Two hours, two essay answers, and it is over. These arrangements allow each student a to approach the exam from a position of personal strength and with the comfort of research materials at hand. With the advantage of these arrangements students are spared much of the sleeplessness and stress associated with take-home, floating, lengthy, or closed-book exams. Although freely open to all first comers, this section is intended to be a small one, and a small room has been requested for it. In the event of enrollment pressure a slightly larger alternative room can be made available, but both rooms are small. In case you find the class already closed when you try to register, a wait list has been requested. The Student Affairs Office will notify persons on the wait list when an opening becomes available. This course assumes completion of the first year of law school and must therefore be limited to upperclass students. There are no other prerequisites. Three hours.

Textbooks ( * denotes required )

The First Amendment (paperback) *
Shiffrin & Choper
West Pub. Co. , edition: 5th ed., 2011
ISBN: 978-0-314-90456-0
2013 Supplement, The First Amendment (paperback) *
Shiffrin & Choper
West Pub. Co. , edition: 2013
ISBN: 078-0-314-28886-8


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