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

Chesa Boudin

Yale University - Law School

November 12, 2010

Yale Law Journal, Vol. 120

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.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 42

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

Open PDF in Browser Download This Paper

Date posted: November 14, 2010 ; Last revised: July 10, 2011

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

Contact Information

Chesa Boudin (Contact Author)
Yale University - Law School ( email )
P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 478
Downloads: 81
Download Rank: 231,835