The Public Defender’s Pin: Untangling Free Speech Regulation in the Courtroom

Kagan, Michael | March 6, 2017

In this essay, Professor Kagan asserts that recent disputes in Ohio and Nevada about whether lawyers should be allowed to wear “Black Lives Matter” pins in open court expose a fault line in First Amendment law. Lower courts have generally been unsympathetic to lawyers who display political symbols in court. But, Kagan argues, it would go too far suggest that free speech has no relevance in courtrooms. This essay argues for a way to strike a balance.