Have Trump's lies endangered free speech?

Trump has brought into sharp relief the vulnerability of democracy in the midst of a communication upheaval more pervasive in its impact, both destructive and beneficial, than the invention of radio and television in the 20th Century.

In making, embracing and disseminating innumerable false statements, Trump has provoked a debate among legal scholars over whether the once-sacrosanct constitutional protection of free speech has itself become a threat to democracy by enabling the widespread and instantaneous transmission of lies in the service of political gain.

In the academic legal community, there are two competing schools of thought concerning how to go about restraining the proliferation of flagrant misstatements of fact in political speech.

Richard Hasen, at the University of California-Irvine Law School, described some of the more radical reform thinking in an email…