Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly


Mark Strasser


Brandenburg v. Ohio is thought by many to represent an extremely speech-protective doctrine. Yet, much of the protection offered by Brandenburg can easily be swallowed up by the true threat doctrine, which provides the basis for a robust exception to First Amendment protections. Both the Brandenburg protections and the true threat exception are important to maintain-the great challenge for the Court is to include both within the formulation and articulation of First Amendment jurisprudence so that sufficient protection is afforded to the implicated societal and the individual interests represented by each. Regrettably, rather than provide helpful guidelines that would establish the contours of Brandenburg and the true threat exception, the Court has instead focused on highly contested exceptions within First Amendment jurisprudence, leaving lower courts to fend for themselves.