Franklyn Haiman

Franklyn Haiman is John Evans Professor Emeritus of Communications Studies at Northwestern University. He is the author of Speech and Law in a Free Society and "Speech Acts" and the First Amendment..

Recent Articles

Stealing First: The Rehnquist Court Gags on Free Speech

Clinton’s appointees need to rescue the Bill of Rights.

T he prospect that Bill Clinton could name more than one new justice to the U.S. Supreme Court has caused celebration among those who feared for the fate of Roe v. Wade . The same prospect has significant implications for the first Amendment, which has also been hanging in a precarious balance since President Reagan and Bush have shifted the Court's center of gravity to the right. For while the nation's attention was absorbed by the decision at the end of the Court's 1991-1992 term upholding the restrictions on abortion enacted in Pennsylvania, the justices were at the same time deciding a less-noticed group of cases that are likely to have profound implications for the First Amendment. Not only did the justices tinker with some fundamental principles governing freedom of speech and the separation of church and state, but the surprising alliances and divisions among them foreshadow an uncertain future for several of those principles. At stake are such important issues as: the extent...

Setting Limits on Free Speech

Rod Smolla's Deliberate Intent: A Lawyer Tells the True Story of Murder by the Book 01.03.00 | reviewed by Franklyn S. Haiman Rod Smolla, a professor of law at the University of Richmond, is one of the country's most able and articulate First Amendment experts. In this engrossing narrative, he explains how and why- contrary to his pro-free-speech impulses and after much agonizing- he came to join a team of lawyers suing a book publisher for having aided and abetted a murder. The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to deal directly with the recent spate of free speech issues raised by extremely inflammatory messages, which these days are not just in books and peri odicals but also in cyberspace. The still-prevailing precedent for this kind of communication is its unanimous 1969 opinion involving a KKK rally in Ohio. The Court stated then, in Brandenburg v. Ohio, that provocative speech is protected by the First Amendment unless it "is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action...

The Remedy is More Speech

Slurs against groups may be painful, but suppressing speech is not the answer.

The recent spate of incidents on college campuses involving the verbal expression of racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic hatred has reignited a long-running debate in the history of free speech. Like flag burning, obscenity, and defamation of character, the derogation of people on the basis of their race, religion, or ethnicity -- known to the legal community as "group libel" -- has often been singled out as a candidate for exclusion from the protections of the First Amendment. Those who have urged curbs on group libel point out that the United States stands alone among the democracies of the world in tolerating such speech. The controversy over "hate" speech stirs some of our deepest emotions. How can a society that claims to be civilized, and sensitive to the feelings and interests of all its people, permit a group of neo-Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois -- home to a large cluster of Holocaust survivors -- or allow programs by the Ku Klux Klan to be broadcast over a...