Publius and the Petition: Doe v. Reed and the History of Anonymous Speech
42 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2010 Last revised: 10 Jul 2011
Date Written: November 12, 2010
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
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