Free Speech for Some: How the Supreme Court Is Weaponizing the First Amendment to Empower Corporations and the Religious Right

William Bennett Turner

Has the First Amendment become a tool to promote the conservative agenda?FreeSpeechCvr5(03) KW.indd

On June 27, 2018, Justice Elena Kagan, dissenting from the Supreme Court’s decision in a free speech case, accused the Roberts Court majority of “weaponizing the First Amendment”–of “turning the First Amendment into a sword”and using it to serve a conservative political agenda. The U.S. Supreme Court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., has decided more free speech cases than any previous court in history. The decisions have mostly favored free speech claims.

But the court increasingly has found First Amendment protection not for dissidents and minorities but for businesses and conservative religious interests. The court has taken free speech principles developed decades ago to shield and empower oppressed minorities and applied them to shield and empower corporations and the religious right. The book critically examines how the Roberts Court has decided the key cases, changed the rules on free speech, engineered outcomes, and become the willing vehicle for advancing the conservative agenda. Justice Kagan was right.

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