Does 'The Freedom of the Press' Include a Right to Anonymity? The Original Understanding

Robert G. Natelson

The Independence Institute

October 12, 2013

This Article examines legal and historical evidence to determine whether, as some have argued, the original legal force of the First Amendment’s "freedom of the press" included a per se right to anonymous authorship. The Article concludes that, except in cases in which the press had been abused, it did. Thus, from an originalist point of view, Supreme Court cases such as Buckley v. Valeo and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which upheld statutes requiring disclosure of donors to political advertising, were erroneously decided.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 47

Keywords: constitution, constitutional law, citizens united, anonymous, anonymity, First Amendment, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, press freedom, original understanding, original intent, original meaning, original public meaning, disclosure, political advertising, campaign finance, campaign spending

JEL Classification: K3, K29, K39

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Date posted: September 30, 2013 ; Last revised: October 13, 2013

Suggested Citation

Natelson, Robert G., Does 'The Freedom of the Press' Include a Right to Anonymity? The Original Understanding (October 12, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2333612 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2333612

Contact Information

Robert G. Natelson (Contact Author)
The Independence Institute ( email )
727 E. 16th Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
United States
303-279-6536 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://constitution.i2i.org
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