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date: 31 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the constitutional protection of free speech and free press. It emphasizes the legal doctrine underpinning free expression in America as well as two competing traditions: a tradition of dissent and a tradition of suppression. It first discusses the framing of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, along with early doctrinal developments related to free speech and free press. It next looks at initial Supreme Court cases involving freedom of expression and the impact of those cases on democracy and free expression. Finally, it assesses recent developments in free-expression jurisprudence, with emphasis on the observation that the “haves”—that is, the wealthy and powerful—often win.

Keywords: free speech, free press, legal doctrine, free expression, Constitution, Bill of Rights, Supreme Court, freedom of expression, democracy, jurisprudence

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