In Nuanced Absolutism, First Amendment scholar Ronald Collins identifies, explains, and analyzes key aspects of the legal thought of America’s most noted contemporary First Amendment lawyer, Floyd Abrams–a man who has had a profound impact on the law of free speech. In the process of discussing Abrams’s work, the reader is introduced to “nuanced absolutism,” a way of thinking about the First Amendment.The table of contents is here.
Nuanced absolutism describes a tenet of existing First Amendment law that has emerged over the years and which has taken on new life in the decisional law of the Roberts Court. Before it was judge-made law, it was a brand of law argued by lawyers, most notably Floyd Abrams.
One of the author’s aims is to remind readers of the role played by lawyers in shaping our law, especially our supreme law. By way of an intellectual history and biographical approach to his subject, Collins explains how Abrams’s nuanced absolutism operates in the context of some of the appellate cases he has litigated, the causes he has defended, and the positions he has taken in public. In short, the work is a biographical sketch and case study of one man’s life in the law, the law of the First Amendment.
Update: Collins will be discussing his book at the Yale Law School on January 29. More information here.