Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

The Contradictory Messages of Rehnquist-Roberts Era Speech Law: Liberty and Justice for Some

26 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2010 Last revised: 11 Feb 2013

David Kairys

Temple University - Beasley School of Law

Date Written: February 7, 2013

Abstract

The Supreme Court in the Rehnquist-Roberts era has been characterized as pro-free speech, based in part on the Court’s protection of money as a form of speech in the campaign finance context. Parsing the tangle of free speech decisions for themes and patterns, this essay highlights inconsistencies in the Court’s decisions on basic free speech issues, such as the strict-scrutiny invalidation of limits on the quantity of speech only in the area of campaign finances. Looking beyond the familiar First Amendment rhetoric of self-expression, empowerment of the people, and triumphal American democracy, the essay reveals stark differences between the Court’s treatment of modes of speech available to people of ordinary means, and modes available to corporations and the wealthy. The Court’s curtailment of rights related to the former, and expansion of rights related to the latter, skews, corrupts, and undermines the democratic process.

Keywords: speech, campaign finance, quantity of speech, wealth, money

Suggested Citation

Kairys, David, The Contradictory Messages of Rehnquist-Roberts Era Speech Law: Liberty and Justice for Some (February 7, 2013). 2013 University of Illinois Law Review 195 (2013); Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1635319 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1635319

David Kairys (Contact Author)

Temple University - Beasley School of Law ( email )

1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
190
Rank
136,069
Abstract Views
1,682