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Political Philosophy

January 25, 2012

The Terms… (just to get us started)
1.) Content-Neutral (CN) Restrictions
These are restrictions DESPITE the message being expressed.
Example:
No honking outside a hospital because the patients need their rest.
Means of Restriction:
*Balancing Test – Does the state interest in limiting speech outweigh the free speech interest?

2.) Content-based (CB) Restrictions
These restrictions BECAUSE of the message being expressed. These usually involve protecting the public and national interests.
Examples:
Restrictions on the release of certain classified materials.
Restrictions on hiring teachers who advocate the violent overthrow of the gov’t.
False advertising/libel, because they are obvious lies to the general public in order to receive their money or change their frame of mind for specific purposes.
Means of Restriction:
*Stringency Test – Does the state interest in limiting speech outweigh the free speech interest?

3.) Free Speech Principle
All “high value” speech (excluding low-value obscenity [the fun stuff], defamation, and fighting words*[huh?]) should enjoy the should enjoy stringent protection associated with content-based restrictions. Case by case and treated as content-based. These low value speech categories are those that are considered “no essential part of any exposition of ideas […] any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality.” (315 US 568)(1942).
*Fighting words = phrases that will almost certainly get your ass kicked.

4.) The Subject-Matter Restrictions??
Strangely enough certain specific subjects are treated differently:
-All viewpoints within the subject-matter are restricted. Like Content-neutral, above.
– But they are restricted based on subject matter (content) like a Content-based restrictions.

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