The First Amendment Encyclopedia

Presented by the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies

Case Categories: Anonymous Speech

This is a list of First Amendment cases involving protection of anonymous speech.

The Supreme Court has protected anonymity under the First Amendment, but as with other constitutional rights, it has balanced protection for anonymous speech against competing interests, notably in the areas of political activity, campaign finance, and use of the Internet.

From the United States’ earliest days, speakers addressing controversial public questions have sought anonymity.

For example, the authors of the Federalist Papers, which supported ratification of the Constitution, published under the pseudonym Publius. Also many revolutionary-era pamphleteers published under assumed names, often to escape prosecution.

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