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Emerson, Thomas I. Toward a General Theory of the First Amendment, 72 Yale L. J. 877 (1963)
Communication Law and Policy  (IF),  Pub Date : 2020-07-02, DOI: 10.1080/10811680.2020.1766897
Karen M. Markin

I have probably referred to Thomas I. Emerson’s “Toward a General Theory of the First Amendment” more often than any other article. Emerson’s theory – which covers the values served by the First Amendment, the problems with maintaining a system of freedom of expression, the role of law and legal institutions in this effort, and the formulation of legal doctrine – remains remarkably apt as a framework for analyzing freedom of expression issues, despite the passage of more than half a century since its publication. Emerson identified as a key threat to freedom of expression the tendency of the powerful in society to suppress opposition. He wrote: