Evaluation in constitutional law: An application to the first amendment

Richard L. Wiener, Mark Small

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article argues that program evaluation data may be useful to the courts when they are deciding First Amendment constitutional law disputes. Specifically, we focus on how program evaluation data, quantitative and qualitative, may be dispositive in dealing with two types of First Amendment cases—pornography and commercial speech. The different evaluative approaches that are warranted with each type of case are compared and contrasted. The different possible legal routes that program evaluation data may take to influence the outcome of constitutional law disputes determines the empirical type of approach to be utilized. Where pornography cases lend themselves more to social science data being used in trials, cases of commercial speech are more likely to use data at the appellate level. Social scientists interested in conducting legally relevant research should structure their research accordingly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-205
Number of pages9
JournalBehavioral sciences & the law
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law


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