Honors | Freedom of Speech in the U.S. (COLL)
S104 | 22067 | Michael McGregor


MW 1:00-2:15pm

Contrary to what some may believe, the protection of free speech by
the First Amendment is not absolute. Government attempts to punish
or restrict certain kinds of speech all the time, and sometimes when
those restrictions are challenged in court, the court approves of
the restrictions. After taking this course, you値l understand why
this happens in a country that supposedly guarantees free speech.
We値l start the course by reading some of the philosophers that
first spoke about the benefits of free speech, and then we値l look
at some of the contemporary criticisms of the concept. Next, we値l
study most of the exceptions to free speech in the United States,
including speech that incites imminent lawless action, obscene
speech, and speech that violates another person痴 privacy.
Throughout the course you値l practice your analytical abilities and
critical thinking skills by applying what you致e learned about free
speech to new situations. For example, based on what you learn about
restricting speech on a radio station, how would the government
react to the same speech on the internet?

Class instruction includes lecture, guest speakers, pertinent
videotapes, and discussion. During the class, you値l write several
in-class 菟op覇ssays plus two research papers on a free-speech topic
of interest to you. You値l also do at least one oral exercise such
as a debate or a moot court argument. The course concludes with a
comprehensive final examination.

The honors discussion section will feature more in-depth analysis of
the issues and a closer inspection of the most important Supreme
Court cases dealing with free speech issues. Honors students will
not necessarily do more work that the rest of the class (although
some additional reading will be required), but the level of
discussion and analysis will be significantly more sophisticated.
After taking this course, you値l understand the boundaries of free
speech in the United States. More importantly, you値l be able to
critically assess government attempts to restrict free speech in the
future.