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ERIC Number: ED250729
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1983
Pages: 31
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Development of Protection of Political Expression in Wisconsin Supreme Court Cases: 1848-1925.
Neal, John A.; Neal, Kay
Most communication courses and research involving freedom of speech examine issues by reviewing the decisions of the United States Supreme Court and the federal appelate courts. However, the high visibility of the federal courts can lead to a misguided emphasis by students of the history of free speech. Research into the development of present legal protections should concentrate on early decisions of state courts. For example, a review of the development of Wisconsin's interpretation of its constitutional provisions on free speech shows that many hundreds of cases before 1925 dealt, at least tangentially, with some aspects of free speech or free press. The most important aspect of its decisions was the degree of protection it afforded for criticism of public figures. By 1925, the court had provided itself with a number of precedents which it could choose to consider dominant in any particular case and may have been determined by the balance the court thought wise between the free speech rights of the individual or newspaper and the right of a person not to be the object of public ridicule. In this balance, the court gave more leeway to criticism of public officials whose conduct as officials was before the voters. The court appeared unwilling to extend the fair comment rationale to persons who were not integral members of the governmental process. The Court was also not willing to extend the constitutional protections to censorship by nongovernmental sources. Very generally, there was an increase in the protection of expression during the period from 1858 through 1925. (HOD)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A