Participatory Democracy as the Central Value of American Free Speech Doctrine
24 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2012 Last revised: 25 Jan 2012
Date Written: 2011
This article defends the view that contemporary American free speech doctrine is best explained as assuring the opportunity for individuals to participate in the speech by which we govern ourselves. It argues that this democracy-based theory is both descriptively powerful and normatively attractive: Descriptively, no other theory provides nearly as good an explanation of the actual pattern of the Supreme Court’s free speech decisions. Normatively, this theory is appealing because it is firmly rooted in a value to which virtually everyone in our society adheres.
Keywords: First Amendment, Democracy, Free Speech Doctrine
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