Free Speech

The Journal of Free Speech Law, a New Faculty-Edited (Peer-Reviewed) Law Journal


I'm delighted to announce the founding of the Journal of Free Speech Law, a new faculty-edited law journal. (Motto: "It is an experiment, as all life is an experiment.") The journal will publish in print as well as electronically; the first issue—a symposium on regulation of social media removal decisions—will come out in Summer 2021. (Many thanks to the Stanton Foundation for a generous multiyear grant that will allow all this to happen.)

Future articles will be selected by our "robe & gown" editorial board, which currently consists of:

Prof. Amy Adler
Prof. Jane Bambauer
Prof. Ashutosh Bhagwat
Judge Stephanos Bibas
Prof. Vincent Blasi
Judge José A. Cabranes
Prof. Clay Calvert
Dean Erwin Chemerinsky
Prof. Alan Chen
Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar
Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg
Prof. Jamal Greene
Prof. Heidi Kitrosser
Prof. Andrew Koppelman
Prof. Ronald J. Krotoszynski, Jr.
Prof. Toni Massaro
Prof. Michael McConnell
Prof. Helen Norton
Prof. Robert Post
Judge A. Raymond Randolph
Judge Neomi Rao
Prof. Jennifer Rothman
Judge Robert Sack
Prof. Frederick Schauer
Dean Rodney A. Smolla
Prof. Geoffrey Stone
Judge David R. Stras
Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton
Prof. Rebecca Tushnet
Prof. Eugene Volokh
Prof. James Weinstein
Judge Diane Wood


The executive editors will be Jane Bambauer, Ashutosh Bhagwat, and me, and I will also serve as the editor-in-chief. If you're interested in seeing links to our articles, as well as the occasional other announcement, follow us on Twitter at @JournalSpeech.

We plan to publish:

  1. Articles that say something we don't already know.
  2. Articles with all sorts of approaches: doctrinal, theoretical, historical, empirical, or otherwise.
  3. Articles dealing with speech, press, assembly, petition, or expression more broadly.
  4. Generally not articles purely focused on the Free Exercise Clause or Establishment Clause (which we leave to other publications, such as the Journal of Law & Religion), except if they also substantially discuss religious speech.
  5. Articles not just about the First Amendment, but also about state constitutional free speech provisions, federal and state statutes and regulations protecting or restricting speech, common-law rules protecting or restricting speech, and private organizations' speech regulations.
  6. Articles about U.S. law, foreign law, comparative law, or international law.
  7. Both big, ambitious work and narrower material.
  8. Articles that are useful to the academy, to the bench, or to the bar (and if possible, to all three).
  9. Articles arguing for broader speech protection, narrower speech protection, or anything else.

We also plan to publish quickly, without interfering with the author's style, voice, or perspective.

Our submission guidelines: You can submit to the journal via Scholastica, at https://‌

  1. As with many other faculty-edited journals, we require exclusive submission. Any article you submit to us must not be under consideration elsewhere.
  2. In exchange, we expect to give you an answer within two weeks.
  3. Instead of a cover letter, please submit at most one page (and preferably just a paragraph or two) explaining how your article is novel. If there is a particular way of showing that (e.g., it's the first article to discuss how case X and doctrine Y interact), please let us know.
  4. Please submit articles single-spaced, in a proportionally spaced font.
  5. Please make sure that the Introduction quickly and clearly explains the main claims you are making.
  6. Please avoid extended background sections reciting familiar Supreme Court precedents or other well-known matters. We prefer articles that get right down to the novel material (if necessary, quickly explaining the necessary legal principles as they go).
  7. Each article should be as short as possible, and as long as necessary.
  8. Like everyone else, we like simple, clear, engaging writing.
  9. We are open to student-written work, and we evaluate it under the same standards applicable to work written by others.

If your article is accepted:

  1. We will give you whatever editing feedback we came up with as we were reviewing your article. We will generally not offer line editing.
  2. We will assign a starting page number, which you can use for future citations even before it is published, and we willbe prepared to immediatelypublish the article online and on Westlaw and likely Lexis, once the article is suitably revised and polished. (We will publish in print every several months, as enough articles are finished to form an issue.)
  3. We will defer to your authorial judgment on editing questions, except when we think accuracy or attention to counterarguments requires changes (in which case we will of course not make any changes without your approval).
  4. We expect authors who are professors at American law schools to have cite-checking and proofreading done by their own research assistants. If that is a hardship for you, please let us know.
  5. We will have the article proofread near the end of the publishing process, just to catch any remaining glitches.

Please submit your new articles to us, if you have written something that would fit our mission; and please follow us on Twitter at @JournalSpeech.

NEXT: The Return to Intermediary Control

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. ” (in which case we will of course not make any changes without your approval).


  2. Another journal, just what academia needs…..

    1. You spend your free time reading and commenting on articles published by legal academics, often about legal issues. How could you possibly be surprised that there is a demand for something you faithfully demand every day?

  3. So, what is the inefficiency that this is trying to solve? If law professors are already publishing to SSRN, why is this necessary to correct for the slowness of the law review publishing process? Is it that you think that the imprimatur of a blessing from other leading practitioners helps separate the wheat from the chaff? But couldn’t the market (primarily other law professors and academics) already do that? And it sounds like you lose the fact checking of the student led law review process, as you only will give mild critiques not a true peer review. So what then is the benefit you offer to authors or readers?

    1. Great questions; a few answers:

      1. The chief benefit is that articles will be selected by people who actually know a lot about free speech law. It should also offer authors a smoother and quicker publication process.

      2. SSRN is great for what it is — a way to share drafts (as well as published articles), and to announce them in the SSRN subject-matter mailings. But to be really useful, an article has to be findable with the electronic research services (chiefly Westlaw and Lexis); for that, it needs to be published in a journal.

      3. The imprimatur of leading experts does help separate the wheat from the chaff. Here, we are the market that helps send the signal.

      4. Our guess is that shifting source-checking from students on the law review to research assistants (often students) hired by the author would work fine; some other faculty-edited journals operate this way, and it will speed up the publication process. But we’re open to revising that plan.

      1. Thanks! Appreciate the reply–and I look forward to reading it.

    2. “And it sounds like you lose the fact checking of the student led law review process, as you only will give mild critiques not a true peer review.”

      Student led law review fact checking is not “true peer review”. Students are not reviewing for substance (how could they?) but for formatting, citation, style, etc.

  4. Any way to follow other than Twitter? RSS?

    1. Jordan Brown: Maybe; our first articles are several months away, but let me think what other options might be available (perhaps an e-mail list).

  5. Congratulations, and I look forward to reading more!

  6. EV,
    As an editor of two international journals, I urge you to consider two changes to your submission format.
    1) Submit in single column, double spaced format.
    2) Add line numbers
    This makes reviewing and commenting to authors much easier.

  7. Is this an all lawyer journal, authors, reviewers, readers? Think about an expansion, since lawyers are the stupidest people in our nation. Kids in Life Skills class, learning to eat with a spoon, have better judgment and common sense than Supreme Court Justices. Their writing would also have greater clarity.

    1. What a stupid, ill-informed comment

      1. Don, if you’d seen some of the “lawyers” that I’ve seen in student affairs, you’d agree with him — and add a few words like “pompous” and “arrogant” as well.

        Of course, more than a few of them aren’t members of the bar, let alone having ever actually practiced law, but they did graduate from an accredited law school — and have their diploma on the wall behind them.

        Hence my plea for “real” lawyers to wade into the morass that is higher education because right now it is only the twits purporting to know what the law is….

        1. Ed,
          It seems that I know and have worked with a much better species of lawyer than you.

      2. Don. You are an oblivious denier about the condition of the lawyer profession. I am not referring to the poor performers. I am referring to its topmost members of the profession hierarchy. Your profession is a super drag on our nation’s progress. Your profession must be crushed, and completely made over to save our nation. Your profession stinks. It is the worst performing and most damaging group of any, including psychotic criminals. Imagine any occupation operating as it did in the 13th Century. You suck.

  8. Subscriptions? Email notification or distribution? Price?

    Could be interesting.

    1. Thanks — we’ll announce the details on paper subscriptions in a few weeks, for those who want them. But I expect that most people will want to subscribe electronically, chiefly by following our Twitter account (though we’ll also likely set up an e-mail list option).

  9. Judge Ginsburg will be passing the joints around at the editorial board meetings!

  10. Are you going to be accepting submissions from folk other than law faculty/students?

    The first thing that comes to mind regarding free speech is the third incarnation of hate speech codes and (respectfully) it isn’t an issue that the law professors are dealing with, nor is it an issue that the student affairs people are dealing with, nor is it really an issue that the mental health people are dealing with — and it really is a free speech issue, particularly at a public university.

    The first generation of hate speech codes were the fiat codes — the “thou shalt not say” codes which banned (and punished) certain forbidden words. Federal courts started striking these down in the early ’90s. There was the UMich decision, the lesser-known UNH “jello” decision, etc.

    The second generation of hate speech codes were the harassment codes — while conceding that they couldn’t outright ban words, they proceeded to do the same thing under the concept of harassing a member of a protected group. Courts tended to see through this and weren’t impressed.

    The third generation of hate speech codes concede that the student has a right to speech, the speech is viewed as indication of a mental illness and hence the student is pursued on a therapeutic basis. The easiest way of understanding this is the Soviet concept of “sluggishly progressing schizophrenia” and their related belief that anyone who criticized the Soviet system was mentally ill and needed treatment.

    The two things to understand is that (a) the people who initially advocated the fiat codes 30 years ago haven’t given up and (b) they very much fear that “bad” speech will corrupt the society as a whole. (They are very much like my Puritan forebears in that manner — witches were executed to prevent them from corrupting the souls of everyone else.)

    What’s not widely known (outside the student affairs profession) is that most universities now have a “Behavioral Assessment Team.” Called by a variety of Orwellian names, and composed of high-level administrators, it’s a secretive star chamber where students (and sometimes faculty) are tried (and often sentenced) in absentia.

    And remember that it was the Student Affairs profession which literally had conferences as how to fight FIRE — the rights of often-unpopular individual students is not something that they are concerned with.

    1. Yes, I do know quite a bit about the former Soviet Union and I don’t throw around references like the one above lightly.

      And I was mistaken, the UNH “Jello” case was actually a second generation “harassment” decision. Here it is:

      It’s a really interesting case and an early example of cancel culture — and fortunately he had a good attorney and UNH lost. Also not widely known is that the professor was also the minister at a small Congregational church.

      1. Possibly also of interest is the infamous Region 1 Mt. Holyoke decision.

        It’s tangential but reflective of how much of the relevant law consists of non-judicial OCR letters. Most lawsuits are quietly settled with nondisclosure agreements — the Oberlin College suit being an exception.

    2. We are open to submissions from everyone — law professors, lawyers, judges, students, academics in related fields, and others. But we expect the great majority of submissions will be from people who are legally trained, and who are thus highly familiar with the relevant legal rules.

      1. *That’s* a law review article that I’d like to see a law professor write — the extent to which the “legal” precedents in higher education are neither judicial nor follow relevant legal rules.

        You don’t have to be an attorney to work for OCR, yet that is where most of the “legal” precedents are coming from. (Only Hillsdale and Grove City Colleges are exempt from OCR, everyone else receives Federal funds.)

        Conversely, “real” courts tend to defer to academia — the Affirmative Action decisions being a good example.

  11. “00110001”

    I had no idea you’d post such foul language in the name of free speech.

    1. The ASCII numeral “1”?

        1. Not all Education majors are stupid — just most of them… 🙁

          As an aside, the APA style manual specifies “Blue Book” citations for any legal stuff, which (I believe) is the same as what law reviews use. I can’t speak to Chicago or MLA, but I do know, as a *fact*, that APA diverts to Blue Book because it became an issue in my dissertation.

  12. Who helped Leonard Leo select that editorial board?

    1. Who helped Leonard Leo select that editorial board?

      Someone who wasn’t a slack-jawed, slope-foreheaded hicklib.

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