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International Journal of Human Rights reviews Weinstein book

April 19, 2013

A book co-edited by Professor James Weinstein of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law is “ambitious and authoritative in its scope and invaluable in its recommendations,” according to a review in The International Journal of Human Rights.

Weinstein, the Amelia Lewis Professor of Constitutional Law and an Associate Fellow in the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Public Law, co-edited Extreme Speech and Democracy (Oxford University Press) with British barrister Ivan Hare. The book was released in hard cover in 2009 and in paperback in 2010.

Though noting that that the book was first published in 2009, reviewer Paul Wragg, a lecturer at the University of Leeds School of Law, explains in his recent review that the book remains “an important and impressive collection of essays that address the topical and challenging question of how unpopular, outrageous and downright vile expressive activity ought to be treated.”

Wragg criticizes the United Kingdom High Court’s “awkward, inept handling of the issues” in the 2011 case, Munim Abdul and Others v. Director of Public Prosecutions, when it ruled the prosecution of people who had shouted, among other things, “burn in hell” and “baby killers” at British soldiers was not a breach of their right to freedom of expression.

“It is a pity the court had not read … Professor Weinstein’s thoughtful and refined argument about the importance of ‘offensive’ dissent to democratic self-governance in which he perceptively notes the ‘insecure’ status of the ‘core democratic right’ to express unpopular ideas in public in the UK,” Wragg writes .

The International Journal of Human Rights is a quarterly journal that covers a broad spectrum of human rights issues: human rights and the law, race, religion, gender, children, class, refugees and immigration. It also publishes articles and reports on the human rights aspects of genocide, torture, capital punishment, and the laws of wars and war crimes, among other topics.

Weinstein’s areas of academic interest are Constitutional Law, especially Free Speech, as well as Jurisprudence and Legal History. In addition to Extreme Speech and Democracy, he is the author of Hate Speech, Pornography and the Radical Attack on Free Speech Doctrine (Westview Press 1999), and has written numerous articles in law review symposia on a variety of free speech topics, including: free speech theory, obscenity doctrine, institutional review boards, commercial speech, database protection, campaign finance reform, the relationship between free speech and constitutional rights, hate crimes, and campus speech codes. He has litigated several significant free speech cases, primarily on behalf of Arizona Civil Liberties Union.

To read the full review, click here.