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The Constitution of Electoral Speech LawThe Supreme Court and Freedom of Expression in Campaigns and Elections$
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Brian K. Pinaire

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804757249

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804757249.001.0001

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Constituent Concepts

Constituent Concepts

(p.21) Chapter 1 Constituent Concepts
The Constitution of Electoral Speech Law
Stanford University Press

This chapter focuses on two concepts that figure most prominently in the constitution of electoral speech law: “electoral superintendence” and the “marketplace of ideas.” It shows that “electoral superintendence” represents the general supervisory capacity the U.S. Supreme Court has assumed in electoral process cases since about World War II, while the concept of a “marketplace of ideas” has developed from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes's famous contemplation of the potential for “free trade in ideas” to serve as the vehicle for evaluating competing claims and ultimately realizing the social good in the realm of expression. The chapter begins with an exploration of the essence and evolution of “superintendence,” as this notion encapsulates the Court's involvement in the organization of American politics.

Keywords:   electoral speech law, electoral superintendence, marketplace of ideas, U.S. Supreme Court, electoral process, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, American politics

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