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If there is one thing we think we know about the First Amendment, it is that speech restrictions based on viewpoint are especially objectionable. The Supreme Court has declared that “[i]f there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.” For this proposition, the Court has on one occasion cited thirteen of its own precedents.

Much more broadly, the Court has also held that a government “has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content.” Focusing more specifically, though, on viewpoint-based restrictions, the Court has declared that “[g]overnment discrimination among viewpoints—or the regulation of speech based on ‘the specific motivating ideology or the opinion or perspective of the speaker’—is a ‘more blatant’ and ‘egregious form of content discrimination.'"



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