Originally published: May 16, 2010
Last updated: May 16, 2010 - 11:42am
In her early years as a law professor, Elena Kagan wrote almost exclusively on the First Amendment. There are indications in those writings that her views on government regulation of speech were closer to the Supreme Court's more conservative justices, like Antonin Scalia, than to Justice John Paul Stevens, whom she hopes to replace.
Justice Stevens is not a First Amendment absolutist. He wrote the majority opinion in 1978 in Federal Communications Commission v. Pacifica Foundation, which said the government could ban the broadcast of George Carlin's "seven dirty words" monologue. And he dissented in Texas v. Johnson, a 1989 decision striking down a state law that made it a crime to burn the flag, while Justice Scalia was in the majority. There is good reason to think Ms. Kagan disagreed with Justice Stevens in both cases. "Her articles on free speech showed a strong sense of the importance of civil liberties as a bulwark against ideological orthodoxy — a perspective that will give her ready camaraderie with free speech devotees on the court like Justices Scalia, Kennedy and Thomas," Kathleen Sullivan, a former dean of Stanford Law School, said.
- Justice Scalia set to play key role in Supreme Court smartphone case
- Justices Say GPS Tracker Violated Privacy Rights
- Justice Scalia predicts NSA surveillance will be decided by Supreme Court
- Ruling on violent video games: Score one for 1st Amendment
- Supreme Court lifts limits on sale of violent video games to minors
- Brandeis's Seat, Kagan's Responsibility
- 19 Years Later, Article by Kagan Echoes at the Supreme Court
- Two Decisions Shed Light on the Supreme Court's Role in Telecommunications Policy
- Justice Scalia uses the Internet. And he thinks you people on it are narcissists.
- Kagan in 2009: Cameras in SCOTUS would show 'government working at a really high level'
- Justices: Federal Funds Can't Infringe On Nonprofits' Free Speech
- President Obama and Justice Scalia, United on Broadband as a Utility
- Supreme Court backs AT&T, limits class-action suits
- Justices Appear Divided on Cellphone Warrants
- Supreme Court Upholds 'Fleeting Expletive' Rule for Now