Is There an Obligation to Listen?
This Article thoroughly considers the question whether the constitutional guarantee of “freedom of speech” includes an obligation to listen. It first reviews the scopes of the right to speak, the right to listen, and the right to be left alone from things other than unwanted speech, and the relevance to each of physical location. It concludes that, consistent with constitutional doctrine and the Court’s articulations, the government’s ability to protect individuals from unwanted speech should not vary according to the listener’s location. After noting that the actual protection of unwilling listeners may differ because of the different physical realities of the home as opposed to public places, this Article nevertheless proposes an ideal scope of the obligation to listen, which, when met, should allow the government to protect individually targeted listeners from unwanted speech regardless of their physical locations.