Robotic speech and the first amendment

Russell WEAVER

Résumé

Freedom of expression is he cornerstone of democratic governance. As the U.S. Supreme Court recognized in Garrison v. Louisiana, “speech concerning public affairs is more than self-expression; it is the essence of self-government.” Or, as the Court stated in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, speech is an essential mechanism of democracy, for it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people. The right of citizens to inquire, to hear, to speak, and to use information to reach consensus is a pre-condition to enlightened self-government and a necessary means to protect it. The First Amendment has its fullest and most urgent application ‘to speech uttered during a campaign for political office.’ It is inherent in the nature of the political process that voters must be free to obtain information from diverse sources in order to determine how to cast their votes.

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