law & ethics
Comm 4313


First Amendment terminology

Ad hoc balancing: A process by which the courts make decisions based on specific facets of the case rather than a generalized analysis.

Censorship: Government action aimed at the removal, withholding or destruction of publications/information after publication through: confiscation, editing and harassment methods. Also called after the fact punishment.

Content-based laws: Laws that target and restrict certain expressions due to the unpopular nature of their content. Upon scrutiny, courts usually deem such laws as unconstitutional. 

Content-neutral laws: Laws that curtail certain expressions, not on the basis of their unpopular content, but with an aim to further a compelling public interest. These laws usually target, not the expression, but the time, place and manner it is expressed (TPM).

Fourth estate: The idea that the press is the unofficial fourth arm of government whose basic function is to put an extra check on the executive, legislature and the judiciary on behalf of the people.

Prior restraint: Government action aimed at the prevention of the dissemination of certain material before publication through: licenses, injunctions and punitive legislation. 

Public forum: Places traditionally defined as areas of free expression, usually government property and public places. 

Scrutiny: Level by which the courts examine the specifics of a legal suit. (See content based/Content neutral laws above).

Seditious libel: English laws in the 17th and 18th centuries that forbade any criticism of the royal family.