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LAW 03 — The First Amendment

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Jan 15—Mar 5
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Jan 28
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $405
Instructor(s): William H. Simon
Status: Open
7:00—8:50 pm
Jan 15—Mar 5
8 weeks
Drop By
Jan 28
1 Unit
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
William H. Simon
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects rights of speech, press, religion, assembly, and petition. The Amendment itself is only a sentence, but the Supreme Court has derived from it a complex body of law that affects many areas of American life. It defines the boundaries of political dissent and activism. It limits government’s ability to police cultural expression. It regulates the interaction of public policy with religious practice. It has recently affected congressional regulation of campaign finance. And in an era when the courts have curtailed constitutional restrictions on economic regulation under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, they have expanded such restrictions under the “commercial speech” doctrine of the First Amendment.

This course will provide an overview of First Amendment doctrine and an introduction to the techniques courts use to apply its general principles to particular controversies. It will consider both landmark cases and current controversies. Recent issues discussed will include the Trump administration’s “Muslim ban,” the gay wedding cake controversy, President Trump’s effort to preclude critical responses to his Twitter account, the responsibilities of social media companies regarding misinformation and hate speech, and private liability for “cyberbullying” (e.g., “revenge porn”) and “cyberextortion” (e.g., demanding money to stop displaying mugshots).

William H. Simon, William W. and Gertrude H. Saunders Professor of Law, Emeritus, Stanford; Arthur Levitt Professor of Law, Columbia

William H. Simon has taught at Stanford since 1981 and at Columbia since 2001, and also at Harvard and UC Berkeley. He is the co-author of “The Duty of Responsible Administration and the Problem of Police Accountability,” Yale Journal on Regulation (2016).

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Daniel Farber, The First Amendment, Fourth Edition (ISBN 978-1-62810-014-3)