Ronald K. L. Collins

Editor in Chief of First Amendment News
Ronald Collins

Before he retired, Ronald K. L. Collins was the Harold S. Shefelman Scholar at the University of Washington Law School and prior to that was a scholar at the Washington, D.C. office of the Newseum’s First Amendment Center. He was a law clerk for Justice Hans A. Linde on the Oregon Supreme Court and a Supreme Court Fellow under Chief Justice Warren Burger.

Collins has written constitutional briefs presented to the Supreme Court and various other federal and state high courts. In addition to the nine books that he co-authored with David Skover, he is the editor of "Oliver Wendell Holmes: A Free Speech Reader" (2010) and co-author with Sam Chaltain of "We Must Not Be Afraid to Be Free" (2011). He also authored "Nuanced Absolutism: Floyd Abrams and the First Amendment" (2013). His latest book is "Tragedy on Trial: The Story of the Infamous Emmett Till Murder Trial" (2024).

Collins’ other books on free speech include: "The Death of Discourse” (3rd ed. 2023); "The Trials of Lenny Bruce: The Fall & Rise of an American Icon" (2002 and 2012); "On Dissent: Its Meaning in America" (2013); "When Money Speaks: The McCutcheon Decision, Campaign Finance Laws, and the First Amendment" (2014); "The People v. Ferlinghetti: The Fight to Publish Allen Ginsberg’s HOWL" (2019); and "Robotica: Speech Rights & Artificial Intelligence" (2018).

He coauthored a college text entitled "First Things First — A Modern Coursebook on Free Speech Fundamentals" (with Will Creeley, David Hudson, Jr., and Jackie Farmer, 2019).

Collins is the book editor of SCOTUSblog and writes a weekly blog (First Amendment News), which appears on the FIRE website.

His scholarly articles have appeared in numerous journals including the Harvard Law Review, Stanford Law Review, Michigan Law Review, and the Supreme Court Review, among other publications.

Collins is co-founder and co-director of The First Amendment Salons (Wash. D.C. and N.Y.C.) and the co-founder of The History Book Festival.

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