Ron Collins and David Skover have been writing together for almost three decades. In addition to The Trials of Lenny Bruce, they have also coauthored three other books together—The Death of Discourse (1996), On Dissent (2013), and MANIA (2013).
Ron, who grew up in Southern California and teaches at the University of Washington Law School, lives in Bethesda, Maryland. David, who grew up in Wisconsin and teaches at Seattle University Law School, lives in Seattle. Both have written numerous scholarly articles (often together) in journals such as the Harvard Law Review, Stanford Law Review, and in the Supreme Court Review.
Specific chapters in the volume explore basic principles of free speech; unprotected types of speech; conditionally protected speech; restrictions and regulations governing protected speech; free speech limitations in school settings; the corrosive impact of politicians and social media platforms that spread distortions and falsehoods under free speech pretexts; and free speech as a general cultural ideal. Together, these chapters will provide readers with a thorough and accurate grounding in their First Amendment rights and responsibilities.
On June 27, 2018, Justice Elena Kagan, dissenting from the Supreme Court’s decision in a free speech case, accused the Roberts Court majority of “weaponizing the First Amendment”--of “turning the First Amendment into a sword” and using it to serve a conservative political agenda. The U.S. Supreme Court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., has decided more free speech cases than any previous court in history. The decisions have mostly favored free speech claims. But the court increasingly has found First Amendment protection not for dissidents and minorities but for businesses and conservative religious interests. The court has taken free speech principles developed decades ago to shield and empower oppressed minorities and applied them to shield and empower corporations and the religious right. The book critically examines how the Roberts Court has decided the key cases, changed the rules on free speech, engineered outcomes, and become the willing vehicle for advancing the conservative agenda. Justice Kagan was right.