Professor William Van Alstyne has been a prolific and influential scholar, discussing First Amendment questions throughout his career. He has authored dozens of law review articles that are frequently cited in varying contexts, including at least twenty cites in U.S. Supreme Court opinions. He also has done what few others have done with his scholarly agenda by writing consistently and powerfully on the major aspects of the First Amendment – Free Speech, Press, and Religion – and their interrelation. He has added to his numerous contributions by providing a thorough and insightful casebook, First Amendment Cases and Materials, which is the subject of this review. In these pages, the author will review Part I of the Van Alstyne casebook, covering Free Speech and Press. On the whole, while the casebook successfully compiles highly valuable materials illustrating the rich history of opinions addressing the meaning of the First Amendment, its organization and style are so unique to the author that it is at times hard to follow by those with different perspectives and teaching goals. In addition, the discussion of media is a bit disjointed; the highly current topic of the Internet is notably under-developed (even in the Supplement); and individual notes in the book would benefit from more editing.
Mark C. Alexander, The Quest to Find the Meaning of the First Amendment, 21 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 987 (1998).