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8 - The Citizen As Government Sock Puppet and the State Masquerading As a Citizen

The Problem of Coerced and Misattributed Speech

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 August 2019

Ronald J. Krotoszynski, Jr.
Affiliation:
University of Alabama
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Summary

Increasingly, some state governments have used their ability to regulate the professions in order to compel professional speech (arguably false and misleading professional speech), while other state governments have regulated professional speech to force licensed professionals into involuntary silence (even when standards of professional ethics would require a licensed professional to speak).1 For example, South Dakota and Texas have required medical service providers to provide medically unnecessary information and also to provide information that most physicians believe to be medically false.2 Other states, like Florida, have prohibited medical professionals from engaging in speech related to topics, such as gun ownership, that the state would prefer them to avoid.3

Professor Tim Zick observes that “[a] new generation of professional speech regulations is placing considerable pressure on doctrinal, theoretical, and professional boundaries.”4 Using the “cellophane wrapper” of professional regulation,5 government seeks to use private citizens to deliver ideologically-charged messages of its choosing. If the government itself wishes to enter the marketplace of ideas in order to disseminate particular messages about the dangers of abortion or the wonders of gun ownership, no significant First Amendment impediments would exist.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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