Prior Restraint, Vagueness, and Overbreadth

Prior Restraint, Vagueness, and Overbreadth

Learn about three doctrinal twists on First Amendment speech jurisprudence: the rules governing prior restraint, vagueness, and overbreadth.


In addition to the various, context-specific doctrines the Supreme Court has grafted onto the First Amendment, it also has recognized a series of cross-cutting rules that limit the government’s power to restrict First Amendment protections across an array of contexts and settings. This lesson introduces three of the most important examples, which are the limits on prior restraint, and the vagueness and overbreadth doctrines.

I. Prior Restraint 

A prior restraint is any government rule or...