Nonsense on Sidewalks: Content Discrimination in McCullen v. Coakley

34 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2015 Last revised: 28 Aug 2015

Leslie Kendrick

University of Virginia School of Law

Date Written: June 24, 2015

Abstract

What does it mean to say that the government may not “restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content?” Whatever it means, how would one determine when it has occurred? First Amendment law has wrestled with these questions for more than forty years, and if McCullen v. Coakley is a reliable indicator, the debates have only become more fractious. At several points, the Justices viewed a single phenomenon in strikingly different terms. These conflicts demonstrate both the potential benefits of clear rules in the content discrimination context and their lurking futility.

Keywords: First Amendment, content discrimination, abortion, picketing

Suggested Citation

Kendrick, Leslie, Nonsense on Sidewalks: Content Discrimination in McCullen v. Coakley (June 24, 2015). Supreme Court Review, Vol. 2014, No. 1, 2015; Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 45. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2622551

Leslie Kendrick (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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