Government's ever-increasing participation in communication processes, Mark Yudof argues, threatens key democratic values that the First Amendment was designed to protect. Government control over the exchange of ideas and information would be inconsistent with citizen autonomy, informed consent, and a balanced and mutually responsive relationship between citizens and their government. Yet the danger of government dominance must be weighed against the necessary role of government in furthering democratic values by proposing and promotion policies and by disseminating information and educating citizens. Restraints on government's ability to control communications processes are desirable, but excessive or inappropriate restrictions threaten democracy. Professor Yudof identifies a number of formal and informal checks on government as disseminator, withholder, and controller of ideas and information. Where more controls are needed, the strengthening of pluralism and legislative oversight is generally the answer. Constitutional redress in the courts should be sought only in extreme instances, he cautions, to avoid judicial interference with legitimate policy objectives.
Together with the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution is one of America’s most important documents, vital to our political life. While the Declaration, signed 241 years ago today, listed grievances against the …Read More >