Publius and the Petition: Doe v. Reed and the History of Anonymous Speech

42 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2010 Last revised: 10 Jul 2011

Chesa Boudin

Yale University - Law School

Date Written: November 12, 2010

Abstract

This Note argues signatures on petitions intended for use in legislative action through direct democracy processes such as ballot initiatives should be subject to public scrutiny and disclosure; they should not benefit from free speech protections allowing for anonymity. Signatures used in direct democracy proceedings should not be considered petitions or speech at all, but rather lawmaking. Through rigorous historical, doctrinal, and prudential analysis this Note distinguishes between core First Amendment rights, which might include a signature on a general petition with no legislative implications or minority associational rights, and speech-like activity that forms part of the regulated lawmaking process.

Keywords: First Amendment, anonymous speech, disclosure, Doe v. Reed

Suggested Citation

Boudin, Chesa, Publius and the Petition: Doe v. Reed and the History of Anonymous Speech (November 12, 2010). Yale Law Journal, Vol. 120. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1708239

Chesa Boudin (Contact Author)

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

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