The Government Speech Doctrine: A Loophole in the First Amendment?

Read First Amendment Center ombudsman David L. Hudson, Jr.’s explanation of the government speech doctrine in the ABA Journal:

Government officials removed a high school student’s painting from the U.S. Capitol building earlier this year, contending that its message was anti-police and inappropriate. The student and his congressional representative objected, arguing that the government engaged in impermissible viewpoint discrimination by censoring the artwork.

The government countered that removing the painting, submitted in a congressional art competition, was its prerogative under the government speech doctrine.

The controversy raised an important question: Did the government violate the First Amendment by censoring private speech, or was it engaged in government speech? Over the last two decades, the Supreme Court has expanded the government speech doctrine, and more officials have asserted it as a defense in free speech cases.

The full article can be read here.

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