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Ronald K.L. Collins

Ronald K.L. Collins is the Harold S. Shefelman scholar at the University of Washington School of Law and a fellow at the Washington, D.C., office of the First Amendment Center. He writes and lectures on freedom of expression and developed the First Amendment Center Online's Supreme Court Library.

Before coming to the center, Collins served as a law clerk to Justice Hans A. Linde on the Oregon Supreme Court and thereafter was a Judicial Fellow under Chief Justice Warren Burger at the U.S. Supreme Court. He was elected president of the Supreme Court Fellows Alumni Association in 2008.

He has taught constitutional law and commercial law at Temple Law School and George Washington Law School. Collins has written constitutional briefs that were submitted to the Supreme Court and various other federal and state high courts. He has also published some 50 articles in scholarly journals such as the Harvard, Stanford and Michigan law reviews. His writings on the First Amendment have appeared in Columbia Journalism Review, The Nation, The New York Times and The Washington Post, among other publications.

Collins is co-author (with David Skover) of The Trials of Lenny Bruce (2002) and The Death of Discourse (1996/ 2nd ed., 2006), and the editor of Constitutional Government in America (1981). His next book is Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.: A Free Speech Chronicle and Reader (Cambridge University Press, 2010), to be followed by We Must Not be Afraid to be Free: Stories about Free Speech in America (Oxford University Press, 2011) (with Sam Chaltain). Two recent scholarly articles are “Paratexts as Praxis,” Neohelicon, to be published in June 2010 (with Skover) and “Foreword: To America’s Tomorrow — Commerce, Communication & the Future of Free Speech,” 41 Loyola, Los Angeles, Law Review 1-39 (April 2008).

In 2003, Collins and Skover successfully petitioned the governor of New York to posthumously pardon Lenny Bruce. In 2004, they received the Hugh Hefner First Amendment Award. Their scholarly articles include: "What is War? Free Speech in Wartime," 36 Rutgers Law Journal, 833 (2005), "Curious Concurrence: Justice Brandeis’ Vote in Whitney," 2005 Supreme Court Review 333 and "Foreword: The Landmark Free-Speech Case that Wasn’t: The Nike v. Kasky Story," 54 Case Western Reserve Law Review 965-1047 (2004).

In September 2006 Collins conducted a public interview with Anthony Lewis at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, and in February 2008 he interviewed Lewis for C-SPAN’s "Book TV."

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