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Weinstein, new book celebrated by colleagues

April 13, 2009

A new book that Professor James Weinstein of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law edited with British barrister Ivan Hare was feted as an "extraordinary volume" during a gathering April 9, at the College.

Extreme Speech and Democracy considers the legal responses of various liberal democracies toward extreme expression such as incitement to terrorism, homophobic speech, Holocaust denial, veiling controversies and Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad. Published by Oxford University Press, the book contains contributions from prominent authorities in a wide range of disciplines, including law, philosophy, history, psychology and literature.

"It's important, when the faculty write books, that we take a moment and really celebrate, because this is not an easy thing to do," Dean Paul Schiff Berman of the College of Law told Weinstein and his colleagues assembled for the celebration.

In addition to a foreword by Ronald Dworkin, other contributors include John Finnis, Robert Post, C. Edwin Baker, Dieter Grimm and Erick Barendt. Weinstein, the Amelia Lewis Professor of Constitutional Law and a Faculty Fellow in the College's Center for the Study of Law, Science, & Technology, also wrote several essays for the book.

"This book clearly has a huge amount of conceptual thought behind it," Berman said. "And it's not just U.S.-focused, but it's a really wonderful, comprehensive look at the topic of extreme speech and its relation to democracies, how extreme speech should work, how it could work."

"I went through a number of the essays that were of interest to me, and I found more thoughtful expression of these topics than I have seen elsewhere," he said.

Weinstein thanked Berman and the others for their support, saying, "This is good for the institution, and I know you value scholarship. I appreciate this personally and institutionally."

The dean said he hopes to schedule symposia in the future on faculty monographs in the form of "author-meets-readers" panels.

In March, Weinstein and the College of Law, in conjunction with the Centre for Public Law at the University of Cambridge, hosted a two-day workshop, Unchallengeable Orthodoxy in Academia and Science, on free-speech issues. His areas of academic interest are Constitutional Law, especially Free Speech, as well as Jurisprudence, Federal Courts, Civil Procedure and Legal History. Weinstein 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.

Janie Magruder,
(480) 727-9052
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law