On Commercial - and Corporate - Speech

59 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2014 Last revised: 26 Sep 2018

Date Written: October 31, 2014


Government, the Supreme Court has told us, has a lot of freedom to regulate commercial advertising on the ground that it’s false or misleading, but almost none to restrict its content on any other ground. That distinction isn’t justifiable; it never has been. But it relates to a parallel tension in the law’s treatment of speech by for-profit corporations. Both the law of commercial speech and the law of corporate speech are riven, rooted in foundational contradictions between the libertarian principles bound up in conventional first amendment philosophy and an alternative approach recognizing the ways private power distorts public discourse. Nuanced understanding of what commercial speech and corporate speech have in common, and what they are not, supports the conclusion that the Supreme Court is taking the law of commercial speech in the wrong direction.

Keywords: commercial speech, false advertising, corporate speech, corporate personhood, citizens united

JEL Classification: K23, K32, M37

Suggested Citation

Weinberg, Jonathan, On Commercial - and Corporate - Speech (October 31, 2014). Wayne State University Law School Research Paper No. 2014-12, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2517599 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2517599

Jonathan Weinberg (Contact Author)

Wayne State University Law School ( email )

471 Palmer
Detroit, MI 48202
United States
313-577-3942 (Phone)
313-577-2620 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.wayne.edu/weinberg

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