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March Madness: First Amendment Edition

March Madness basketball on court

(Al Sermeno/Shutterstock)

For college basketball fans, no event is more important than March Madness. Unfortunately, they’ll have to go without it (and most other major sporting events) for now given widespread event closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But we at FIRE figured we could help keep the tradition alive — with a First Amendment twist.

So we’re encouraging our followers to take part in a March Madness bracket, but instead of picking winning and losing schools in the NCAA Tournament, you can tell us your thoughts on which First Amendment decisions are the most important in U.S. history. 

You can read up on all these cases, as well as interesting other materials like timelines and special collections, on FIRE’s First Amendment Library

Every week on Twitter we’ll release a new set of polls. We’ll start with 32 cases, then 16, then — well, you get the picture. Polls will run for three days on FIRE’s Twitter account (@theFIREorg), so you’ll have plenty of time to familiarize yourself with the cases and get your votes in.

We know this isn’t a scientific way to decide what First Amendment cases have had the greatest impact on speech rights in the United States. It is, however, a good way to learn about cases you may have never heard of before, get a better sense of what the First Amendment protects and why, and, who knows, maybe even help lessen the sting of missing out on the real March Madness this year. 

The interactive bracket is available below. Clicking on a case will bring you to its page in FIRE’s First Amendment Library, where you can find the facts of the case along with the decision and opinions.

Voting begins today!

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