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Written by David L. Hudson Jr., published on January 1, 2017 , last updated on May 7, 2024

Aaron Caplan

Aaron Caplan is a First Amendment scholar who has focused on Internet free speech cases. (Photo via Loyola Law School)

Aaron H. Caplan (1963 – ) is a law professor and prominent First Amendment scholar who teaches at Loyola Law School Los Angeles in California. He also has experience litigating First Amendment cases from his days as a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Washington.


Born in  Iowa City, Iowa, Caplan earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his law degree from the University of Michigan. After graduating law school, he clerked for Judge Betty Fletcher on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and then worked for a private law firm in Seattle.


Caplan litigated First Amendment cases at the ACLU


In 1998, he joined the ACLU of Washington. He litigated cases there for a decade before entering academia at Loyola.  He handled several student Internet free speech cases during his tenure at the Washington ACLU and litigation challenging the imposition of the so-called “No Protest Zone” during the WTO conference in Seattle in 1999. 


Caplan’s First Amendment scholarship includes articles on the public forum doctrine, free speech and civil harassment orders, the Equal Access Act, freedom of speech in schools and prisons, and anonymous online speech.


David L. Hudson, Jr. is a law professor at Belmont who publishes widely on First Amendment topics.  He is the author of a 12-lecture audio course on the First Amendment entitled Freedom of Speech: Understanding the First Amendment (Now You Know Media, 2018).  He also is the author of many First Amendment books, including The First Amendment: Freedom of Speech (Thomson Reuters, 2012) and Freedom of Speech: Documents Decoded (ABC-CLIO, 2017). This article was originally published in 2017.


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