Rethinking Public Forum Doctrine

Abner Greene in Media Law Prof Blog, December 06, 2010

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Abner S. Greene, Fordham University School of Law, is publishing Speech Platforms in a forthcoming issue of the Case Western Reserve Law Review. Here is the abstract.
First amendment doctrine treats state regulation of private speech differently from the government’s own speech, and public forum doctrine falls somewhere in between. This essay explores whether we ought to rethink some of public forum doctrine to grant more content-based authority to the state. While we must hold the line regarding regulation of private speech, many forums are created and managed by the state for legitimate public purposes, purposes that include attention to speech content. The state may legitimately use its power to speak, fund speech, and open new forums for speech, to promote distinctive, and at times contested, views of the good. Among other things, this essay will explore the recent decision in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez.