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Geoffrey R. Stone
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Geoffrey R. Stone is the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago. From 1987 to 1994 he served as Dean of the University of Chicago Law School and from 1994 to 2002 he served as Provost of the University of Chicago. He is currently Chair of the Board of the American Constitution Society. His most recent book is Speaking Out: Reflections on Law, Liberty and Justice (2010). Stone's other recent books include is Top Secret: When the Government Keeps Us in the Dark (2007), War and Liberty: An American Dilemma (2007) and Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime (2004), which received the Robert F. Kennedy National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for the Best Book of the Year in History, the Political Science Association's Award for the Best Book of the Year in Political Science, and Harvard University's Award for the Best Book in the Year in Public Affairs. Stone is currently chief editor of a fifteen-volume series, Inalienable Rights, which is being published by Oxford University Press between 2006 and 2013. Among the authors in this series are Richard Posner, Alan Dershowitz, Larry Tribe, and Martha Nussbaum. Stone is currently working on a new book, Sexing the Constitution. You can email him at

Entries by Geoffrey R. Stone

An Open Letter to Those Who Feel the Bern

(763) Comments | Posted June 14, 2016 | 11:50 PM

As we move toward the 2016 presidential election, it is critical that those who embrace progressive values turn their energy to the defeat of Donald J. Trump. I know that millions of Americans who were inspired to support Senator Bernie Sanders are disappointed. But nothing is more important now than...

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The Senate Republicans, Merrick Garland and the Lessons of History

(182) Comments | Posted June 2, 2016 | 9:53 AM

On February 13, the very day of Justice Antonin Scalia's untimely death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stunningly announced that the Senate, under Republican control, would not consider any nominee President Barack Obama put forth to succeed Justice Scalia. McConnell and his fellow Senate Republicans insisted that the American people...

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Faithfully Executed: Obama's Immigration Plan and the Supreme Court

(161) Comments | Posted May 16, 2016 | 2:53 PM

This piece was written in collaboration with four of my amazing students at the University of Chicago Law School: Samuel Jahangir, Benjamin Montague, Zeshawn Qadir, and Robert S. Sandoval.

Last month, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in United States v. Texas, a lawsuit brought by twenty-six states challenging President...

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Criminals or Victims? Donald Trump and the Anti-Abortion Puzzle

(60) Comments | Posted April 3, 2016 | 1:15 PM

The furor over Donald Trump's comments this week about punishing women who have abortions raised an interesting question. Trump asserted that, if abortion were once again made a crime, women who have abortions should be punished. Trump was simply being logical. It is standard practice under the criminal law that...

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The Supreme Court and the Republican Coup D'état

(481) Comments | Posted March 19, 2016 | 6:19 PM

In 2005, President George W. Bush nominated John Roberts to succeed Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. At this time, Justice O'Connor was the Court's pivotal "swing" Justice. In many of the Court's most important cases, she cast the deciding vote. Moreover, she generally leaned left on such controversial issues as abortion,...

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Donald Trump, Protest, and the First Amendment

(148) Comments | Posted March 16, 2016 | 8:33 AM

Questions have arisen in recent days about whether Donald Trump, his supporters, and his opponents have acted in ways that either violate the First Amendment or can be punished consistent with the First Amendment. Here are some questions and answers:

Question: Can Donald Trump, consistent with the First Amendment, exclude...

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An Unprecedented Breach of Norms by Senate Republicans

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2016 | 6:37 PM

A distinguished group of legal scholars, political scientists and presidential historians (including me) from across the political spectrum has written to President Obama to affirm that if the Senate Republicans carry through on their threat to deny the President's Supreme Court nominee a fair confirmation hearing they will be acting...

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Justice Scalia's Greatest Failure

(186) Comments | Posted March 4, 2016 | 12:51 PM

In the 1960s, political conservatives accused the justices of the Warren Court of imposing their own liberal values and preferences on the nation in the guise of constitutional interpretation. They charged that the justices of that era consistently exploited the ambiguity of vague constitutional provisions guaranteeing, for example, "the freedom...

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The Supreme Court Vacancy and the Constitutional Responsibilities of the Senate

(188) Comments | Posted February 24, 2016 | 3:43 PM

On February 24, 2016, I addressed the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee in an Ad Hoc Forum on the Supreme Court Vacancy and the Constitutional Responsibility of the Senate. Among the Senators present were Amy Klobuchar (MN); Chuck Schumer (NY), Richard Blumenthal (CN), Brian Schatz (HA), Mazie Hirono (HA),...

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ISIS, Fear, and the Freedom of Speech

(90) Comments | Posted December 22, 2015 | 5:29 PM

In recent weeks, two of the legal scholars I most admire -- Cass Sunstein and Eric Posner -- have independently called for possible limitations on the scope of First Amendment protection in light of the dangers posed to the United States by online radicalization messages directed...

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Justice Scalia, Affirmative Action and the Perils of Oral Argument

(102) Comments | Posted December 15, 2015 | 7:58 PM

Ever since the oral argument last week in the Supreme Court in Fisher v. University of Texas, which involves the constitutionality of the University of Texas' affirmative action program, Justice Antonin Scalia has been castigated and excoriated by commentators, mostly on the left, for asking the attorney for the University...

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Woodrow Wilson, Princeton University, and the Battles We Choose to Fight

(243) Comments | Posted November 21, 2015 | 8:14 AM

As part of their recent thirty-two hour sit-in outside the office of Princeton University's president Chris Eisgruber, members of one of Princeton's student organizations, the Black Justice League, demanded that Eisgruber remove all images of Woodrow Wilson from all of Princeton's public spaces and erase Wilson's name from Princeton's internationally...

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Understanding the Free Speech Issues at Missouri and Yale

(207) Comments | Posted November 11, 2015 | 11:47 AM

How should we think about the free speech issues in the recent controversies at the University of Missouri and Yale? In my view, universities have a deep obligation to protect and preserve the freedom of expression. That is, most fundamentally, at the very core of what makes a university a...

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In the Name of Decency...

(45) Comments | Posted October 21, 2015 | 3:39 PM

Ibrahim Parlak is a Kurd who was born in a small farming village in southeast Turkey in 1962. As a minority ethnic and religious group, Kurds have historically been subjected to vicious discrimination, oppression and violence by the Turks. As a high school student, Ibrahim was imprisoned for three months...

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Kim Davis and the Freedom of Religion

(341) Comments | Posted September 8, 2015 | 12:21 AM

The Kim Davis situation raises interesting questions about the meaning and practical effect of the freedom of religion. Although, for reasons that I will explain, the issue today is one of public policy, rather than constitutional law, the evolution of constitutional principles in this realm is illuminating.

The First Amendment...

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Academic Freedom and the Meaning of Courage

(11) Comments | Posted August 25, 2015 | 5:07 PM

Sometimes, it takes courage to stand up for academic freedom.

Three months ago I posted an article addressing academic freedom issues that had arisen at Northwestern University. In that piece, I related an incident involving Alice Dreger, William Peace, and an issue of the journal Atrium.


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Dump the Trump

(260) Comments | Posted August 6, 2015 | 12:08 AM

The American news media love Donald Trump. He gets them ratings. If they show him waving his arms and ranting, they get viewers. They therefore pretend that Trump is a serious candidate because putting him on the airwaves making moronic and offensive comments is entertaining. But presidential elections are not...

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The Same-Sex Marriage Decision: What to Make of the Dissenters

(197) Comments | Posted June 27, 2015 | 6:37 PM

A central complaint of the four justices who dissented from the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which recognized a constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry, was their repeated assertion that the five justices in the majority were unabashedly -- and illegitimately -- distorting the "true" meaning of...

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Texas License Plates, the Confederate Flag and the Supreme Court

(81) Comments | Posted June 20, 2015 | 2:23 PM

Back in March, on the day the Supreme Court heard arguments in Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans, I wrote a piece examining the "intriguing" First Amendment issue posed by the case. See here.

This week, the Court decided Walker in a sharply-divided five-to-four decision. Like many states,...

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Academic Freedom Under Siege

(52) Comments | Posted June 1, 2015 | 12:08 AM

Six weeks ago, Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro wrote a fine op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in which he offered a ringing endorsement of academic freedom. As he observed, a university must have "a compelling reason to punish anyone -- student, faculty member, staff member -- for expressing his...

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