Greenwashing and the First Amendment
In a third 2022 article entitled “Greenwashing and the First Amendment” (https://columbialawreview.org/content/greenwashing-and-the-first-amendment/), Amanda Shanor and Sarah Light argue that the extent to which greenwashing can be regulated consistent with the First Amendment raises thorny doctrinal questions that have bedeviled both courts and scholars. Their essay analyzes how the First Amendment should tackle issues at the nexus of science, politics, and markets. It contends that the analysis should be driven by the normative values underlying the protection of speech under the First Amendment in the disparate doctrines that govern these three arenas. When listeners are epistemically dependent for information on commercial speakers, regulation of such speech for truthfulness is consistent with the First Amendment and subject to the laxer review of the commercial speech doctrine. This is because citizens must have accurate information not only to knowledgeably participate at the ballot box but also to have meaningful freedom in economic life itself.