Former FIRE Legal Fellow Erica Goldberg on Defending Speech Rights

By April 27, 2012

Former FIRE Justice Robert H. Jackson Legal Fellow Erica Goldberg, now teaching at Penn State Law, concludes her stint guest-blogging at Concurring Opinions with an excellent piece discussing the work FIRE does and some of the general problems that free speech advocates face. Here’s an excerpt: 

It is almost irresistible to censor those with opinions one finds particularly odious or wrongheaded. That is why speech advocates are often wrongly accused of being partisan. The day that I don’t have to disassociate myself from the speech that I am defending is the day that I can stop worrying so much about the state of free speech issues on campus.

Professor Howard Wasserman of Florida International University has responded to Erica’s piece thoughtfully over at Prawfsblawg, noting that the impulse to tie the content of controversial speech to its protection spills over into the judicial arena as well: in free speech decisions upholding unpopular speech, judges often take an opportunity to disassociate themselves from the speech they protect.  

Both pieces are well worth a read.