William Galston


Compared to most adults, children are dependent and vulnerable and therefore require special protection. Efforts to safeguard their well-being often collide with one or more of the liberty guarantees of the First Amendment. Professor Etzioni fears that current jurisprudence has tipped the balance too far towards individual liberty, making it difficult to extend children the legal protection they need. Drawing on a theoretical account of constitutionalism as well as existing case law, the author argues that mainstream jurisprudence is up to the task of balancing the well-being of children against the liberty of adults. The Supreme Court's recent decision in United States v. American Library Association, Inc., upholding the Children's Internet Protection Act, broke little new ground but rather applied existing constitutional standards to reach a sound result.