Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly

Article Title

Free Speech for Lawyers


The application of First Amendment doctrine to cases involving expressive liberties of lawyers and judges has been remarkably inconsistent. Courts are split on such fundamental issues as whether lawyers' speech should be considered core political expression or some other category of speech with diminished constitutional protection; whether lawyers give up some of their expressive freedoms upon becoming members of the bar; and whether government interests such as maintaining the public's respect for lawyers are sufficient bases for restricting speech. This Article considers how constitutional principles such as the principle of content- and viewpoint-neutrality, the distinction between speech and conduct, the vagueness and overbreadth doctrines, and the protection for offensive speech intersect with the profession's owxn ideals and self-understanding, as well as with theoretical grounds for protecting expression.