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3 of The Best Podcast Episodes for Laura Weinrib. A collection of podcasts episodes with or about Laura Weinrib, often where they are interviewed.

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3 of The Best Podcast Episodes for Laura Weinrib. A collection of podcasts episodes with or about Laura Weinrib, often where they are interviewed.

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FREE SPEECH 57: The ACLU's Controversial Approach to Hate Speech, with Laura Weinrib

Think About It
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In August 2017 Professor Laura Weinrib wrote a piece for the Los Angeles Times:

"Commentators have rightly observed that the ACLU has defended far-right speech since its founding, despite fierce criticism. But there is a common and mistaken premise in this analysis. It assumes that the organization has always believed, as it does today, that “freedom of expression is an end in itself.” In reality, the early ACLU viewed free speech as a tool of social justice, suited to particular purposes under particular conditions.

To correct the prevailing misconception, we need to look back to the 1930s, when economic desperation was fueling a battle between reactionary impulses and radical aspirations, and Nazis first appeared on American streets. Even as American fascists appealed to anti-Semitism and white privilege, the ACLU fought for their right to hold rallies. Although it did not oppose regulations against armed marches, it insisted that “the right to parade,” even “in brown shirts with swastikas,” should “never be denied.”

Laura Weinrib is Professor of Law and an Associate Member of the University of Chicago Department of History. A legal historian, her scholarship explores the intersection of constitutional law and labor law. She is the author of The Taming of Free Speech: America’s Civil Liberties Compromise (Harvard University Press, 2016), which traces the emergence during the first half of the twentieth century of a constitutional and court-centered concept of civil liberties as a defining feature of American democracy.

Weinrib is a 2003 graduate of Harvard Law School. She completed her PhD in history at Princeton University in 2011. In 2000, she received an AB in literature and an AM in comparative literature from Harvard University. After law school, Weinrib clerked for Judge Thomas L. Ambro of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. From 2009 to 2010, she was a Samuel I. Golieb Fellow in Legal History at the New York University School of Law. 

May 22 2019

1hr 3mins

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From Left to Rights: Civil Liberties Lawyering Between the World Wars

Jun 24 2017

1hr 18mins

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Laura Weinrib, “Freedom of Conscience and the Civil Liberties Path Not Taken”

The University of Chicago Law School Faculty Podcast
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Recent efforts by opponents of same-sex marriage and reproductive rights to reorient their agenda around religious freedom have sparked an explosion of scholarship on religious claims for exemption from generally applicable laws. Professor Weinrib will discuss an early antecedent of this strategy: the campaign by the National Civil Liberties Bureau, the organizational precursor of the ACLU, to secure exemptions from military service for conscientious objectors during the First World War. The conception of liberty of conscience that the ACLU’s founders advanced, which they linked to an “Anglo-Saxon tradition” of individual rights, clashed with Progressive understandings of democratic citizenship and failed to gain broad-based traction. Civil liberties advocates consequently reframed their wartime work in terms that foregrounded democratic dissent rather than individual autonomy. By the Second World War, the new emphasis on expressive freedom had worked its way into American constitutional law. Even then, however, most Americans rejected a court-centered and constitutional right to exemption from generally applicable laws.

Laura Weinrib is Assistant Professor of Law and Herbert and Marjorie Fried Teaching Scholar at the University of Chicago Law School.

This Chicago’s Best Ideas talked was recorded on February 17, 2016.

Mar 09 2016

58mins

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