Friday, June 17, 2016

Batchis, "The Right’s First Amendment"

New from Stanford University Press: The Right’s First Amendment: The Politics of Free Speech & the Return of Conservative Libertarianism, by Wayne Batchis (University of Delaware). A description from the Press:
Not so long ago, being aggressively "pro–free speech" was as closely associated with American political liberalism as being pro-choice, pro–affirmative action, or pro–gun control. With little notice, this political dynamic has been shaken to the core. The Right's First Amendment examines how conservatives came to adopt and co-opt constitutional free speech rights.
In the 1960s, free speech on college campuses was seen as a guarantee for social agitators, hippies, and peaceniks. Today, for many conservatives, it represents instead a crucial shield that protects traditionalists from a perceived scourge of political correctness and liberal oversensitivity. Over a similar period, free market conservatives have risen up to embrace a once unknown, but now cherished, liberty: freedom of commercial expression. What do these changes mean for the future of First Amendment interpretation?
Wayne Batchis offers a fresh entry point into these issues by grounding his study in both political and legal scholarship. Surveying six decades of writings from the preeminent conservative publication National Review alongside the evolving constitutional law and ideological predispositions of Supreme Court justices deciding these issues, Batchis asks the conservative political movement to answer to its judicial logic, revealing how this keystone of our civic American beliefs now carries a much more complex and nuanced political identity.
A few blurbs:
"The Right's First Amendment is an important and very readable guide to the transition from conservative moralism to conservative libertarianism. Batchis expertly documents the powerful impact of this thirty-year transition on constitutional law, politics, and the development of free speech." —Mark Graber

"Wayne Batchis is a lawyer-political scientist who impressively deploys both disciplines' approaches to improve our understanding of conservative politics and constitutional principles. The Right's First Amendment provides a compelling and important explanation of the political effort to define conservatism and, in turn, the conservative effort to define expressive freedom." —Douglas E. Edlin
More information is available here.

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