The Link between Student Activity Fees and Campaign Finance Regulations
Posted: 14 Aug 2017
Date Written: 2000
This Article argues that the student activity fees and campaign finance regulation challenges raise the same question: the scope of the government's discretion to redistribute money to create and structure a public forum. The government generally can create public forums so long as it does not favor or disfavor particular types of expression. Creating such forums for diverse expression serves the constitutional value of promoting deliberation that includes a wide range of points of view, even though this government action redistributes speech resources to achieve this objective. When the government's purpose in compelling student activity fees or regulating campaign spending is similarly to promote the free speech clause value of nurturing rich and full discussion of public issues, these same public forum principles should apply. In both contexts, the government's interest in equalizing speech resources to serve the expressive and deliberative interests of its entire constituency should have weight sufficient to defeat claims by dissenters that such redistribution by the government violates their free speech rights. Whether in any particular case the government's interest in fact prevails over the interests of dissenters must depend upon how well tailored the means are to achieve the theoretically permissible objective.
Keywords: Constitution, First Amendment, Free Speech, Student Activity Fees, Campaign Finance
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