The Framers' First Amendment: Originalist Citations in U.S. Supreme Court Freedom of Expression Opinions

Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly 88(1) (2011)

Posted: 3 Jul 2012  

Derigan Silver

University of Denver Department of Media, Film and Journalism Studies; University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

This article examines the use of originalist citations by Supreme Court justices in First Amendment freedom of expression opinions. It quantitatively examines when justices use originalist citations and qualitatively explores the content of the justices’ citations to determine how the justices are describing the original meaning of the First Amendment. The article concludes that justices uncritically relied on the citations as authoritative; that although it is identified with conservatism and judicial constraint, originalism was frequently used by liberal justices to expand constitutional protections; and that the “blank slate” of originalism makes it a useful tool for originalists and non-originalists alike.

Keywords: First Amendment, originalism, strategic citations

Suggested Citation

Silver, Derigan, The Framers' First Amendment: Originalist Citations in U.S. Supreme Court Freedom of Expression Opinions (2011). Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly 88(1) (2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2031144

Derigan Silver (Contact Author)

University of Denver Department of Media, Film and Journalism Studies ( email )

2490 S. Gaylord St.
Denver, CO 80208-5000
United States

University of Denver Sturm College of Law ( email )

2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208
United States

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
397