Tuesday, June 3, 2014
On May 13, Professor James Weinstein of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law debated New York University Law Professor and Oxford Political Theory Professor Jeremy Waldron at Durham University in England, at an event entitled “Regulating Hate Speech: Necessary or Harmful?”
Weinstein, who opposes hate speech bans, argued that bans on bigoted speech in public discourse infringe core rights of democratic participation and are susceptible to misapplication to non-bigoted speech. Waldron, who supports bans on the most virulent forms of bigoted expression, and is the author of The Harm in Hate Speech (Harvard Univ. Press, 2012), described the harms that hate speech can inflict on vulnerable minorities, including undermining their assurance of their acceptance in society. Professor Gavin Phillipson of Durham University and Professor Ian Cram of the University of Leeds offered commentary on the debate, which was chaired by Professor Ian Leigh of Durham University.
This was the third time Weinstein and Waldron have met to debate this issue. Their first meeting was in June 2010 at St. Anthony’s College, Oxford, on a panel discussion with Agnès Callamard entitled “Free Speech: Should Europe be more like the USA? Or vice versa?" Weinstein and Waldron then continued the discussion in October 2012 at the Sandra Day O’Connor College Law.
Weinstein's areas of academic interest are constitutional Law, especially free speech, as well as jurisprudence and legal history. He is author of Hate Speech, Pornography and the Radical Attack on Free Speech Doctrine (Westview Press 1999) and with Ivan Hare, the editor of Extreme Speech and Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2009). He 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. In addition, Weinstein has litigated several significant free speech case, primarily on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona.
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