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Constitutional Law

Free Speech: Forums and Content

Free Speech: Forums and Content

Learn about the core distinctions at the heart of how the modern Supreme Court understands the Free Speech Clause: The nature of the forum in which the regulated speech is taking place and the nature of the speech regulation at issue.


No single constitutional provision is the subject of more, or more complicated, judicial doctrine than the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause. Reflecting the central importance of the freedom of speech to our modern constitutional order, the Supreme Court has adopted a series of overlapping but distinct categorical distinctions to help shape analyses of when governments can and can’t constitutionally restrict an individual’s speech. This lesson introduces two of these distinctions. First,...