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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Freedoms' "infrastructure"

Jack Balkin has posted a speech, delivered last week at the Yale's Second Access to Knowledge Conference (A2K2), called "Two Ideas for Access to Knowledge– The Infrastructure of Free Expression and Margins of Appreciation."  Here is a bit:

Freedom of speech . . . depends on an infrastructure of free expression.

What is in that infrastructure? It includes government policies that promote the creation and delivery of information and knowledge. It concerns government policies that promote transparency and sharing of government created knowledge and data. It involves government and private sector investments in information provision and technology, including telephones, telegraphs, libraries, and Internet access. It includes policies like subsidies for postal delivery, education, and even the building of schools.

Read the whole thing.  I wonder:  What if we substituted "religious freedom" for "free expression"?  Does religious freedom require an infrastructure?  If so, "[w]hat is in that infrastructure"?  A fascinating question, I think.  It includes, I would think, government policies (e.g., accommodations), private (and public?) investments, institutions of various kinds, and so on.  What else?  Putting aside, just for discussion purposes, constitutional limits on government action, are there reasons for being more leery of public efforts to build up the "infrastructure" of religious freedom than that of "free expression"?

Posted by Rick Garnett on May 3, 2007 at 05:40 PM in Constitutional thoughts | Permalink


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