The Framers' First Amendment: Originalist Citations in U.S. Supreme Court Freedom of Expression Opinions
University of Denver Department of Media, Film and Journalism Studies; University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly 88(1) (2011)
This article examines the use of originalist citations by Supreme Court justices in First Amendment freedom of expression opinions. It quantitatively examines when justices use originalist citations and qualitatively explores the content of the justices’ citations to determine how the justices are describing the original meaning of the First Amendment. The article concludes that justices uncritically relied on the citations as authoritative; that although it is identified with conservatism and judicial constraint, originalism was frequently used by liberal justices to expand constitutional protections; and that the “blank slate” of originalism makes it a useful tool for originalists and non-originalists alike.
Keywords: First Amendment, originalism, strategic citations
Date posted: July 3, 2012
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