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Weinstein book launched in London

June 12, 2009

Extreme Speech and Democracy, a book that Professor James Weinstein of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law edited with British human-rights attorney Ivan Hare, was launched during a recent reception in London hosted by Oxford University Press, the book’s publisher, and the law firm of Clifford Chance, the sponsor of a conference on which the book is based.

The featured speaker at the May 11 event was Lord Justice Laws (Sir John Laws) of the Court of Appeal. Other speakers at the reception, attended by prominent barristers and other lawyers, academics and people from the civil-rights community, included Weinstein, Hare and Michael Smith, a partner at Clifford Chance.

“I’m very grateful to Oxford University Press and to the partners at Clifford Chance for putting on this superb reception,” said Weinstein, the College of Law’s Amelia Lewis Professor of Constitutional Law, a Faculty Fellow in its Center for the Study of Law, Science, & Technology, and an Associate Fellow in the Centre for Public Law at the University of Cambridge.

With a forward by Ronald Dworkin, and contributions from John Finnis, Robert Post, C. Edwin Baker, Dieter Grimm, and Eric Barendt, among other prominent authorities, Extreme Speech and Democracy considers the legal responses of various liberal democracies toward incitement to terrorism, homophobic speech, Holocaust denial, veiling controversies and the Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, among other forms of extreme expression.

It examines issues such as the marked differences in attitude toward the constitutionality of hate-speech regulation in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and other European countries; whether the traditional U.S. position on extreme expression has justifiably not found favor elsewhere; and whether values such as the commitment to equality or dignity should legitimately override the right to free speech in some circumstances.

In addition to contributions from experts in a wide range of disciplines, including law, philosophy, history, psychology, and literature, Extreme Speech and Democracy offers an in-depth examination of the tensions that arise among democracies, and confronts difficult philosophical and political questions faced by them in their commitment to equality and the fight against hate speech.

Weinstein’s areas of academic interest are Constitutional Law, especially Free Speech, as well as Jurisprudence, Federal Courts, Civil Procedure and Legal History. He has written numerous articles in law review symposia on a variety of free-speech topics, including: obscenity doctrine, institutional review boards, commercial speech, database protection, campaign finance reform, the relationship between free speech and other constitutional rights, hate crimes, and campus speech codes.

To read more about the book, click here.