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Democracy, Expertise, and Academic Freedom: A First Amendment Jurisprudence for the Modern State — A book by Dean Robert C. Post ’77

Robert C. Post
Democracy, Expertise, and Academic Freedom: A First Amendment Jurisprudence for the Modern State
Yale University Press, 2011

The prevailing theories of freedom of speech are incomplete, argues Robert C. Post ’77, Dean and Sol & Lillian Goldman Professor of Law, in his latest book. The familiar understanding of the First Amendment, which stresses the “marketplace of ideas” and holds that “everyone is entitled to an opinion,” is inadequate to create and preserve the expert knowledge necessary for a modern democracy to thrive. For a contemporary society reliably to answer such questions as whether nicotine causes cancer, the free and open exchange of ideas must be complemented by standards of scientific competence and practice that are both hierarchical and disciplined, he writes.

Post develops a theory of First Amendment rights that tries to balance the need for the free formation of public opinion with the need for the creation and dissemination of expertise. Along the way he offers a new account of the constitutional doctrine of academic freedom that solves many of the puzzles that now afflict judicial decision-making in this area.



Watch a video of a book discussion about Democracy, Expertise, and Academic Freedom with Dean Post and Professor Jack Balkin.