Spring 2020
5312 First Amendment - LINZER- 21103

Professor(s): Peter Linzer (FACULTY)

Credits: 3

Course Areas: Constitutional and Criminal Law 

Time: 2:30p-4:00p  TTH  Location: 215  TUII

Course Outline: First Amendment (Speech and Press in the Twenty-first Century)
Peter Linzer

We have nearly 100 years of active case law about freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and over that century, we have developed strong protections. Many of them were the product of hard-fought campaigns, and many of them have been successful. But today, we have new issues: terrorism that often is not tied to a particular government, technological change, particularly the Internet and cell phones, and offspring of technology like social media, which is largely replacing traditional newspapers and broadcast radio and television.

This course will not ignore the historic cases; they remain important and are frequently relevant to current disputes, but it will also look hard at questions like owns the Internet, who should control it, and how traditional issues like defamation should be dealt with on social media and the Internet. One of the key matters is the power of the Internet Service Providers, who actually own the physical communications devices that transmit what you see when you click on to a blog. Should the ISPs be viewed as the equivalent of newspaper publishers, who have a constitutional right not to print things they disapprove of, or like the telephone company, which can’t stop you from saying whatever you wish over its phone lines? What about speakers who wish to encourage young people to go to Syria and join ISIS? What about the decline of print? Will there be any newspapers in twenty years? Is this something of constitutional concern?

So the course will both review protection of traditional speech and press issues and examine the new problems that we know about and the even newer ones that we don’t yet fully understand.

So while we still will look at sex, drugs and rock n roll, we will also be looking at brand new problems, many of which haven’t got close to the Supreme Court. The course will be looking in part at the problems that will develop as you become practicing lawyers. You are welcome aboard.

Course Syllabus:

Course Notes:   


First Day Assignments:

Final Exam Schedule: 04/28 2-5pm      

This course will have:

Satisfies Skills Course Requirement: No
Satisfies Senior Upper Level Writing Requirement: No

Experiential Course Type: No

Bar Course: No

DistanceEd ABA 306:

Pass-Fail Student Election:

Course Materials (11/1/2019 12:54:03 PM)

Special Case

Requested book (not yet published)
Peter Linzer and Nicole B. Casarez, The First Amendment and Beyond—Speech and Press in the Twentyfirst Century
Contact Professor Linzer for expected date of publication.