Considering the Public Forum Status of Government Internet Sites

This Article analyzes government-run websites as public fora under the auspices of the First Amendment with consideration given to the legal implications involved in maintaining and operating a government website. The Author describes the different kinds of fora and lists the varying levels of scrutiny that a court must apply to each when government regulation of speech or expression is involved. The Author places the various types of government-run websites into separate categories with a focus on the websites’ purposes. Further, the Author suggests which type of forum is applicable to each website category, providing guidance as to whether members of the public have a First Amendment right to participate in a given government-run website. Finally, the Author describes the limitations that may be placed on speech and expression based on the type of forum utilized by a government body in operating or maintaining a website.