Does the First Amendment to the US Constitution protect a distinct notion of “academic freedom”? Of late, courts and commentators have cast doubt on an individual First Amendment right of academic freedom. When federal courts have directed friendly attention to the matter, the result has been bromidic endorsement with scant analytic heft. The goal of this Essay is to identify an organizing principle for a constitutional jurisprudence of academic freedom. For unlike Holmes’s “law of the churn,” an independent constitutional doctrine of academic freedom is plausible. It could find inspiration in recent jurisprudence of Judge Frank Easterbrook, who has penned four opinions touching on the scope of academic freedom in the university setting.
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