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Developments in First Amendment Law in American History, with a Focus on Recent Corporate and Campaign Finance Cases

(606 reviews)

Produced on February 09, 2017

Taught by
$ 89 Constitutional and Election, Campaign, & Political In Stock
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Course Information

Time 1h 1m
Difficulty Advanced

Course Description

The meaning of the First Amendment has changed markedly since its adoption. It was rarely invoked until the 20th century, when courts began to use it to protect dissenting speech. In the past few decades, the First Amendment has more often been used to protect commercial speech rights. This has occurred both in cases involving business activity and those involving political activity, such as Citizens United. This course reviews the history of the First Amendment and how it has changed. It provides a deeper analysis of recent First Amendment case law with an emphasis on corporate and campaign finance cases.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Understand the role of the First Amendment at various points in American history
  2. Learn the most common uses of the First Amendment today, and how it has been shaped by legal advocacy since the 1970s
  3. Explore the purpose of the First Amendment and analyze whether current jurisprudence reflects that purpose

Credit Information

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Brent Ferguson

Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law

Brent Ferguson is Counsel in the Brennan Center’s Democracy program, where he works on the Money in Politics team. Before joining the Brennan Center, he clerked for Judge Michael Chagares of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and Judge Jeffrey Miller of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. Prior to his clerkships, he was a litigation associate at Dechert LLP. Brent graduated from Columbia University Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and served on the administrative board of the Columbia Law Review. He graduated cum laude from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in political science.


Louis B.

well done!

Cullen M.

Fascinating historical perspective on free speech.

gerard m.

One of the best speakers bring him back for more courses

Leonard M. K.

Great topic, lecturer was very skilled at explaining concepts

Jeff R.

Very informative presentation. Thank you.

Elaine O.


Garrett L S.

Excellent review of the subject matter

Dave M.

Well-informed speaker with direcly applicable experience, who had slides with citations (which all should have)

Pamela R.

Very balanced and usefull

Jory M.

Thanks for this excellent presentation.

Robert C.


Larned F.


Steve S.

Solid course. Good history.

Carol R.

This course was very informative. Would love to see more of this type.

Edward P.

This was an excellent course which provided a very thorough historical background.

Jenik R.


Ann A.

Well organized and effective.

Mark W.

Well organized and focused presentation. Presentation was excellent.

Carrie L.

Historical breakdown new compared to other commentators.

William H.

Interesting overview of commercial speech.

Ruth G.

Well done

Pauline M.

Very well organized! The presenter was easy to listen to.

Roscoe H.

This was so interesting that I wish that it had been longer!

Julie A. B.

Relevant, useful, timely, concise content captured in a crisp presentation accompanied by written materials conveniently punctuated with seminal First Amendment cases accompanied by their citations.

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