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Constitutional Law: Speech and Religion

This is a course about the freedoms of speech, press, religion, association, and assembly under the First Amendment. Two- thirds of the course will be about freedoms of speech, press, and assembly. We will examine historical context, doctrinal development, and current caselaw. We will ask why government regulates speech (to prevent harms? to protect sensibilities? to redistribute power? to advance the interests and ideas of the politically powerful?), how government regulates speech (by aiming at messages? by aiming at markets? by aiming at when and where speech takes place? by conditioning subsidies?), and what justifications are ever sufficient for limiting speech. We will include consideration of the institutional press and new technologies including the Internet, as well as the rights of private organizations to determine their membership and organization. About a third of the course will be about religion. We will ask how the twin constraints of the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses relate, looking especially at notions of neutrality, voluntarism, separation, and accommodation. Elements used in grading: Exam

2015-2016 Spring
03/28/2016 - 05/27/2016 Mon ,Tue ,Wed 11:10 AM - 12:30 PM
Instructors: Michael W. McConnell
Notes: One-Day Take-Home Exam.

Instructors for this course (Past and Present)

Michael W. McConnell