Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sunday Book Review: Who's Afraid of Free Speech?

We-must-not-be-afraid-free-stories-ronald-collins-hardcover-cover-art-165x250Ronald K.L. Collins and Sam Chaltain take the title of their book - - - WE MUST NOT BE AFRAID TO BE FREE - - - from Justice Black's dissent in In re Anastaplo, 366 U.S. 82 (1961).  Con Law Prof George Anastaplo had argued for admission to the Illinois bar, despite his refusal to answer the questions of the state Committee on Character and Fitness pertaining to his membership in the Communist Party. 

Collins and Chaltain devote their first chapter to Anastaplo, providing the "back story" and the doctrine.  Subsequent chapters also promise similar engagements with well-known and lesser-known free speech cases.  Harvard Law Review, in its "Recent Publications" segment, lauds the book:  it " skillfully blends history and doctrine, furnishing the reader with an introduction to core free speech cases through vivid and real-life accounts of the parties, judges, and attorneys involved,"  providing " a deeply engaging work of scholarship for general readers and students of the law alike."

Published by Oxford University Press, this is a must-have for every ConLaw Prof teaching or writing about the First Amendment.  The book has been out for a year, but ConLawProfs behind in their reading should put the book on this summer's reading list.  As a terrific teaser, or refresher, an hour-plus long video of Collins and Chaltain discussing the book last year at The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression is available on C-Span here.

RR

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