Crowdsourced Lit Review: First Amendment Theory & Technology

Updated May 11, 2017. Keep your recommendations coming and I'll update periodically. 

Nailing down the definitive literature on First Amendment expressive freedoms is a tricky task. What’s the consensus among scholars about the classics? Even more complex is figuring out what emerging scholarship on the intersection of speech and press freedoms with new media technologies will have a lasting impact.

I put those questions to the most respected folks in my academic network, and they overwhelmed me with their generosity in providing thoughtful, detailed responses. This blog post collects their (anonymized) thoughts. I’ve found this resource incredibly useful as I dig into my dissertation, and no doubt the scholarly community will be better off by having all of their recommendations in one place.

This list is only a start. Let me know what I’ve overlooked (even if it’s your own work; don’t be shy) and I’ll update this post.


A Free and Responsible Press: A General Report on Mass Communication (Robert D. Leigh ed., 1947).

Ammori, Marvin, Another Worthy Tradition: How the Free Speech Curriculum Ignores Electronic Media and Distorts Free Speech Doctrine, 70 Mo. L. Rev. 1 (2005). 

______________, First Amendment Architecture, 2012 Wis. L. Rev. 1 (2012).

Andersen Jones, RonNell, What the Supreme Court Thinks of the Press and Why It Matters, 66 Ala. L. Rev. 253 (2014).

Baker, C. Edwin, Scope of the First Amendment Freedom of Speech, 25 UCLA L. Rev. 964 (1978).

______________, Human Liberty and Freedom of Speech (1989).

______________, Advertising and a Democratic Press (1994).

______________, Media, Markets, and Democracy (2002).

Balkin, Jack M., Digital Speech and Democratic Culture: A Theory of Freedom of Expression for the Information Society, 79 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1 (2004).

______________, The Future of Free Expression in a Digital Age, 36 Pepp. L. Rev. 427 (2008).

______________, Media Access: A Question of Design, 76 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 933 (2008).

______________, Old-School/New-School Speech Regulation, 127 Harv. L. Rev. 2296 (2014).

______________, Information Fiduciaries and the First Amendment, 49 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 1183 (2016).

Bambauer, Jane, Is Data Speech?, 66 Stan. L. Rev. 57 (2014).

Barron, Jerome A., Access to the Press – A New First Amendment Right, 80 Harv. L. Rev. 1614 (1967).

______________, Freedom of the Press for Whom?: Right of Access to Mass Media (1973).

Benjamin, Stuart Minor, Transmitting, Editing, and Communicating: Determining What ‘The Freedom of Speech’ Encompasses, 60 Duke L. J. 1673 (2011).

______________, Algorithms and Speech, 161 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1145 (2013).

Benkler, Yochai, Free as the Air to Common Use: First Amendment Constraints on Enclosure of the Public Domain, 74 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 354 (1999).

______________, From Consumers to Users: Shifting the Deeper Structures of Regulation Towards Sustainable Commons and User Acces, 52 Fed. Comm. L.J. 561 (2000).

______________, The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom (2006).

______________, A Free Irresponsible Press: Wikileaks and the Battle Over the Soul of the Networked Fourth Estate, 46 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 311 (2011).

Berlin, Isaiah, Two Concepts of Liberty, in Four Essays on Liberty (1969).

Blasi, Vincent, The Checking Value in First Amendment Theory, 2 Am. B. Found. Res. J. 521 (1977).

______________, The First Amendment and the Ideal of Civic Courage: The Brandeis Opinion in Whitney v. California, 29 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 653 (1988).

______________, Ideas of the First Amendment (2006).

Bollinger, Lee C., Images of a Free Press (1991).

Bork, Robert H., Neutral Principles and Some First Amendment Problems, 47 Ind. L.J. 1 (1971).

Bracha, Oren & Frank A. Pasquale III, Federal Search Commission? Access, Fairness and Accountability in the Law of Search, 93 Cornell L. Rev. 1149 (2008).

Chafee, Zechariah, Freedom of Speech in War Time (1919).

______________, Free Speech in the United States (1941).

Christians, Clifford G., Theodore L. Glasser, Denis McQuail, Kaarle Nordenstreng, & Robert A. White, Normative Theories of the Media: Journalism in Democratic Societies (2009).

Emerson, Thomas I., Toward a General Theory of the First Amendment, 72 Yale L.J. 877 (1963).

______________, The System of Freedom of Expression (1970).

Eternally Vigilant: Free Speech in the Modern Era (Lee C. Bollinger & Geoffrey R. Stone eds., 2002).

Fish, Stanley, There's No Such Thing as Free Speech, and It's a Good Thing Too (1994).

Fiss, Owen M., The Irony of Free Speech (1996).

Freeing the First Amendment: Critical Perspectives on Freedom of Expression (David S. Allen and Robert Jensen, eds., 1995).

Gillespie, Tarleton, The Politics of ‘Platforms’, 12 New Media & Soc’y 347 (2010).

Graber, Mark A., Transforming Free Speech: The Ambiguous Legacy of Civil Libertarianism (1991).

Grimmelmann, James, Speech Engines, 98 Minn. L. Rev. 868 (2014).

Kairys, David, Freedom of Speech, in The Politics of Law: A Progressive Critique 190 (David Kairys, ed., 3rd ed. 1998).

Kalven, Harry, The New York Times Case: A Note on “The Central Meaning of the First Amendment”, 1964 Sup. Ct. Rev. 191 (1964).

______________, A Worthy Tradition: Freedom of Speech in America (1988).

Lessig, Lawrence, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (1999).

Levy, Leonard W., Legacy of Suppression: Freedom of Speech and Press in Early American History (1960).

______________, Emergence of a Free Press (1985).

MacKinnon, Catharine A., Only Words (1996).

Marcuse, Herbert, Repressive Tolerance, in A Critique of Pure Tolerance 81 (Robert Paul Wolff et al., eds., 1965).

Matsuda, Mari J. et al., Words That Wound (1993).

Meiklejohn, Alexander, Free Speech and Its Relation to Self-Government (1948).

______________, Political Freedom: The Constitutional Powers of the People (1960).

______________, The First Amendment Is an Absolute, 1961 Sup. Ct. Rev. 245 (1961).

Mill, John Stuart, On Liberty (1859).

Milton, John, Areopagitica (1644).

Peters, John Durham, Courting the Abyss: Free Speech and the Liberal Tradition (2005).

Pickard, Victor, America's Battle for Media Democracy: The Triumph of Corporate Libertarianism and the Future of Media Reform (2015).

Piety, Tamara R., Brandishing the First Amendment: Commercial Expression in America (2012).

Post, Robert, Managing Deliberation: The Quandary of Democratic Dialogue, 103 Ethics 654 (1993).

______________, Constitutional Domains: Democracy, Community, Management (1995).

______________, Democracy, Expertise, & Academic Freedom: A First Amendment Jurisprudence for the Modern State (2012).

Rabban, David M., Free Speech in its Forgotten Years (1997).

Redish, Martin H., The Value of Free Speech, 130 U. Pa. L. Rev. 591 (1982).

Richards, Neil, Intellectual Privacy: Rethinking Civil Liberties in the Digital Age (2015).

Scanlon, Thomas, A Theory of Freedom of Expression, 1 Phil. & Pub. Aff. 204 (1972).

Schauer, Fredrick, Free Speech: A Philosophical Enquiry (1982).

______________, The Boundaries of the First Amendment: A Preliminary Exploration of Constitutional Salience, 117 Harv. L. Rev. 1765 (2004).

______________, The Politics and Incentives of First Amendment Coverage, 56 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 1613 (2015).

Shiffrin, Steven H., The First Amendment, Democracy, and Romance (1990).

Streeter, Tom, Selling the Air: A Critique of the Policy of Commercial Broadcasting in the United States (1996).

Sullivan, Kathleen M., Two Concepts of Freedom of Speech, 124 Harv. L. Rev. 143 (2010).

Sunstein, Cass R., Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech (1993).

______________, (2001).

______________, #Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media (2017).

Tushnet, Rebecca, Power Without Responsibility: Intermediaries and the First Amendment, 76 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 101 (2008).

Volokh, Eugene & Donald M. Falk, First Amendment Protection for Search Engine Search Results, 8 J. L. Econ. & Pol'y (2012). (White Paper commissioned by Google.)

Volokh, Eugene, Freedom for the Press as an Industry, or for the Press as a Technology? From the Framing to Today, 160 U. Pa. L. Rev. 459 (2012).

Weinrib, Laura, The Taming of Free Speech: America's Civil Liberties Compromise (2016).

West, Sonja, Awakening the Press Clause, 58 UCLA L. Rev. 1025 (2011).

White, Edward, The First Amendment Comes of Age: The Emergence of Free Speech in Twentieth-Century America, 95 Mich. L. Rev. 299 (1996).

Wu, Tim, The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires (2010).

______________, Machine Speech, 161 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1495 (2013).

Zittrain, Jonathan, The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It (2008).

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