Great American Free Speech Cases
Speech is the realm of human activity between thought and physical acts, distinct from yet overlapping with both. It is also one of the most highly protected of American constitutional liberties. In this course, we shall examine about two dozen of the Supreme Court's greatest, most interesting free speech cases. Following an overview of the history of free speech law, stretching to antiquity, we shall consider leading U.S. cases that have developed major doctrines setting the limits of speech protection under the First Amendment. Beginning with incitement to imminent lawlessness (and its early articulation as the clear and present danger rule), we shall go on to consider landmark cases on offensive speech, defamation, commercial speech, obscenity, the public forum, and time/place/manner restrictions. Those who take this course will gain a respectable command of the complex, fascinating landscape of the American law of free speech.
Martin D. Carcieri has taught courses in Constitutional Law and Political Theory as a Professor of Political Science, San Francisco State University. He holds a J.D. from UC Hastings and a Ph.D. in Political Science from UC Santa Barbara. He has earned four teaching awards and has published twenty‐five journal articles and book chapters. His work has appeared in top journals in four disciplines, and has been cited to the U.S. Supreme Court in five landmark cases in the 21st century. His most recent book is Applying Rawls in the 21st Century: Race, Gender, the Drug War, and the Right to Die.