The reach of speech: Chief Justice leadership, wartime effects, and the evolution of the First Amendment
This paper examines the evolution of First Amendment jurisprudence from 1941 to 1981. Using a data set of 8738 cases is constructed from nearly 15,000 cases across the forty year span, I attempt to estimate the outcome of cases in which a litigant asserts his First Amendment rights against the government or its agent. Neither the leadership provided by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court nor the effects of wartime on speech appear to substantially effect the outcome of First Amendment litigation. Instead, wins and losses are better predicted by the specific issues debated and the characteristics and circumstances of the litigants who debate them.
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