Clay Calvert Article Examines Content-based vs. Content-Neutral Regulations of Speech
Clay Calvert, professor of journalism and Brechner Eminent Scholar in Mass Communication and Director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project at the University of Florida, published an article in the Richmond Journal of Law and Public Interest titled Content-based Confusion and Panhandling: Muddling a Weathered First Amendment Doctrine Takes its Toll on Society’s Less Fortunate.
This article examines multiple problems now plaguing the fundamental dichotomy in First Amendment jurisprudence between content-based and content-neutral regulations of speech.
The troubles were highlighted by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 divided decision in McCullen v. Coakley. Building from McCullen, this article uses a quartet of federal court rulings from 2014 and 2013 involving anti-begging ordinances affecting the home-less as analytical springboards for examining these issues in depth.
Ultimately, the article proposes a three-step framework for mitigating the muddle and calls on the nation’s high court to take action to clarify the proper test for distinguishing between content-based and content-neutral regulations.