Robson The First Amendment
This Casebook is intended to be used in an upper-division course covering
the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Its 14 chapters are substantially the same length, with the exception of
Chapter One, the introduction, and Chapters Eleven and Twelve which in
combination are the usual length. It is intended for 13 or 14 week semester
that meets once or twice per week. Each Chapter contains a “Chapter
Outline” at the beginning for ease of reference.
The Casebook is organized with the Speech Clauses as Part One and the
Religion Clauses as Part Two. Unlike many other courses, there is no
accepted organizational scheme within these broad areas. As the
Introduction notes, First Amendment doctrine, especially within freedom of
speech, presents a varied and haphazard landscape. The Casebook follows a
scheme that has proven effective in my years of teaching the course to
hundreds of students.
The selection of cases tends toward the most recent and these tend to be less
heavily edited. These recent cases often contain extended discussions of
earlier cases that are not included in the Casebook.
The excerpted cases and all cases in the Notes contain the official citation.
However, within the text of excerpted cases, the full citations of cases are
not included: only the case name and year appears the first time the case is
cited within the opinion. Moreover, case citations are not always indicated
by ellipses. When content is omitted, this is indicated by this symbol: ***.
This Casebook has been immeasurably improved by comments from my
students in First Amendment at CUNY School of Law, especially those in
the class in the Spring of 2015 when a “dry run” of the Casebook was used.
Their responses to my queries (e.g., “which 5 pages did you find least
helpful in this chapter?”), their engagement with the materials and original
contributions, as well as their notations of typographical errors, are deeply