Morris Ernst and the Fight for Freedom of Speech in America

Start Date
Wednesday, March 23, 2022 - 11:00 am
End Date
Wednesday, March 23, 2022 - 12:00 pm
Event Contact Name
Deanna Cira
Event Contact Phone #
Event Contact E-mail

This lecture presents a history of freedom of speech in the United States through the story of the life of Morris Ernst, renowned lawyer and author who served as co-general counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union in the 1930s and 40s. A significant and controversial legal figure in his time, Ernst helped pioneer the modern law of free speech through his writing and legal advocacy on behalf of literary and artistic freedom, press freedom, and the right to protest. Ernst’s story illuminates the origins of cultural and political dilemmas and debates surrounding freedom of expression that remain with us today. 
Presenter - Samantha Barbas is Professor of Law at the University at Buffalo School of Law and the author of several books on legal history, freedom of speech, and mass media law, including Newsworthy: The Supreme Court Battle Over Privacy and Press Freedom (Stanford University Press, 2017), and The Rise and Fall of Morris Ernst: Free Speech Renegade (University of Chicago Press, 2021). She is a recipient of a Public Scholar Award from the National Endowment for the Humanities.