Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly


Justice Blackmun's commercial speech and public forum opinions reflect a distinctive balancing approach that takes seriously the listener's interests in receiving information and, sometimes, in not receiving information. The Justice consistently advocated this listener-oriented balancing approach throughout his tenure on the Supreme Court, and, contrary to the conventional wisdom, this approach proved to be substantially more protective of free speech than the more categorical approaches the Court ultimately adopted. Professor Dodge argues that Justice Blackmun's approach is preferable to the Court's current doctrine by examining two types of cases that current doctrine finds hard to handle: restrictions on protesters in public forums around abortion clinics and mandatory disclosure requirements for commercial speakers like cigarette warning labels and registration requirements for securities.