Preserving Political Speech from Ourselves and Others

Aziz Huq

This essay is a case study of how and why strict scrutiny varies between cases decided within a particular doctrinal category (political speech) by a given court (the Roberts Court). Two lines of Roberts Court jurisprudence implicate political speech: federal campaign finance cases and a challenge to the federal statute criminalizing “material support” to designated foreign terrorist organizations. My aim here is to examine the common doctrinal matrix of First Amendment strict scrutiny used in those cases to explore how divergent results emerge from a unified analytic framework. A secondary goal is to illustrate how post-9/11 national security concerns find expression inside familiar and seemingly durable doctrinal frameworks.