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[87WashLRev0495] A View from the First Amendment Trenches: Washington State’s New Protections for Public Discourse and Democracy

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dc.contributor.author Johnson, Bruce E.H.
dc.contributor.author Duran, Sarah K.
dc.date.accessioned 2012-06-28T14:34:19Z
dc.date.available 2012-06-28T14:34:19Z
dc.date.issued 2012-06
dc.identifier.citation 87 Wash. L. Rev. 495 (2012) en_US
dc.identifier.issn 0043-0617
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1773.1/1140
dc.description volume 87, number 2, June 2012 Symposium: The First Amendment in the Modern Age en_US
dc.description.abstract Bruce E.H. Johnson & Sarah K. Duran Mr. Johnson is a partner and Ms. Duran is an associate in the Seattle office of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP (DWT). Abstract: In his latest book, Democracy, Expertise, and Academic Freedom: A First Amendment Jurisprudence for the Modern State, Dean Robert Post promotes the concept of “democratic legitimation” as the cornerstone of democratic decision making. Dean Post defines “democratic legitimation” as “all efforts” to influence “public opinion.”1 As Post explains, “[d]emocracy requires that government action be tethered to public opinion” because “public opinion can direct government action in an endless variety of directions.”2 As a result, First Amendment coverage should extend to all communications that form public opinion, he contends.3 Those who object to speech aimed at influencing public opinion have learned they can file a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP). The purpose of the SLAPP suit is to impede efforts to influence public opinion by intimidating the speaker with expensive and lengthy litigation. Since the late 1980s, states have reacted to SLAPP lawsuits by enacting anti-SLAPP statutes. Washington State has had a statute in place since 1989 that protects speakers from litigation resulting from statements made to government officials. In 2010, the Washington legislature expanded those protections by enacting Revised Code of Washington 4.24.510, which more broadly protects speakers who comment on matters of public concern. This Article reviews Dean Post’s theory of democratic legitimation and then looks at statutes across the nation and in Washington that are aimed at protecting speakers from litigation that seeks to chill the First Amendment rights of citizens who comment on matters of public concern. The Article concludes that Washington’s new statute promotes Dean Post’s goal of democratic legitimation. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Seattle: Washington Law Review, University of Washington School of Law en_US
dc.rights Copyright 2012 by Washington Law Review Association.
dc.subject Essay en_US
dc.subject The First Amendment in the Modern Age en_US
dc.title [87WashLRev0495] A View from the First Amendment Trenches: Washington State’s New Protections for Public Discourse and Democracy en_US
dc.type Article en_US
dc.rights.holder The authors retain the copyright in this article and authorize royalty-free reproduction for non-profit purposes, provided any such reproduction contains a customary legal citation to the Washington Law Review. en_US

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