2024 - Spring
First Amendment Law
Course Number: JOUR-GA 0011.001
Day & Time: Wed | 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: 20 Cooper Square, Room 659
Instructor: Stephen D. Solomon
Although the First Amendment appears on its face to prohibit any governmental restrictions on the press, the U.S. Supreme Court in fact balances free and open expression against other vital interests of society. This course begins by examining the struggle against seditious libel (the crime of criticizing government or its officials) that was not won in this country until the landmark decision in New York Times v. Sullivan in 1964. Students will examine freedom of the press through the prism of a rich variety of contemporary conflicts, including libel, newsgathering problems, the right of privacy, prior restraint, and the conflict between free press and fair trial. Readings include a The First Amendment and the Fourth Estate; Make No Law by Anthony Lewis, The Unwanted Gaze by Jeffrey Rosen, and Origins of the Bill of Rights by Leonard Levy. Students write five papers during the semester.