Conflict is the essence of civil liberty. Individual or group rights are rarely, if ever, willingly bestowed without a struggle. From the day that King John was forced at Runnymede to recognize that his barons had certain prerogatives to the present era, when racial minorities, women, and gays and lesbians fight for a place at the table, the din of political, judicial, and sometimes violent battle echoes through the United States. And yet, are the law of freedom of speech and the law of equality truly on a collision course? Henry Louis Gates, Jr., has written that the strongest argument for regulating speech is the unreflective stupidity of most of the arguments for the other side - the tendency of those "who invoke the First Amendment mantra, and seem immediately to fall into a trance, oblivious to further argument and evidence." In an attempt to move past such rote recitations, this volume brings together such thinkers as Sylvia Law, Martin Redish, Ira Glasser, Randall Kennedy, Susan Deller Ross, and Wendy Kaminer to engage in a free-ranging conversation about this very issue. Focusing on the flashpoint topics of abortion clinic violence, workplace harassment, and hate crimes/hate speech, the contributors illustrate ways that we might get beyond the reflexivity that has dictated much of the debate around speech and equality.
Contains essays on three issues involving conflicts between rights of free expression and rights of equality or privacy: laws that restrict protests at abortion clinics, the criminalization of hate speech and pornography, and verbal harassment based on race or sex in the workplace. Includes responses and discussion. No index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Gara LaMarche is Associate Director of Human Rights Watch and Director of its Free Expression Project. Norman Dorsen is Co- Director of the Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Program at New York University School of Law.