Constitutional Law: First Amendment

Course Catalog Number: 
5301
Course Credits: 
3
Course Type: 
Lecture
Course Priority: 
General Enrollment Course
Standard Courses

When we think of freedom of speech, we generally think of protest, dissent and political controversies. There is good reason for this; robust discussion of issues of public policy and candidates for public office is an essential element of democratic self-governance. Today, however, the First Amendment is also invoked – often successfully – in a variety of other contexts. Can the Federal Government limit tobacco advertising? Can a school punish students for “cyber-bullying?” Can a city ban billboards for adult entertainment businesses?

This course will provide a detailed examination of First Amendment doctrines and their application in a wide variety of contexts, both traditional and contemporary. Topics will include:  political speech, obscenity, libel, commercial speech, regulation of electronic media, limitations on the “time, place, and manner” of expression, symbolic speech, and rights of association. Some comparisons will be made between First Amendment doctrines and other areas of constitutional law.