|Institutions||University of Kentucky|
|Alma mater||U.C. Santa Barbara,
|Known for||The Second Constitutional
James Madison and the
Struggle for the
Bill of Rights (2006)
Richard Labunski is a journalism professor at the University of Kentucky and newspaper columnist who is notable for being an outspoken advocate for reforming the United States Constitution in his book The Second Constitutional Convention. He has been a prominent critic of voter apathy, low voter turnout, and excessive campaign spending. Labunski's critically acclaimed James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights (2006) argued that Madison was initially lukewarm to the idea of a Bill of Rights to the Constitution, but later came to energetically support the ten amendments and worked hard for their inclusion. He has called for a Second Constitutional Convention of the United States, and argued that reform will not happen through the current system because Congress would be reluctant to "limit its own powers."
Labunski received a B.A. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a law degree from Seattle University. He worked as a radio and television reporter, producer, and editor at WTOP Radio (Washington, D.C.); KCBS Radio (San Francisco); KGUN-TV (Tucson); and KTVN-TV (Reno). He taught at the University of Washington for 11 years, as well as at Penn State University. He has been at the University of Kentucky since 1995 as a professor in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications.
In The Second Constitutional Convention (2000), Labunski proposed communication via the Internet as a way for Americans to organize a federal constitutional convention with a website serving as a "national meeting spot, a sort of cyberspace town meeting where people can get information." Labunski joins scholars such as Larry Sabato and Dana D. Nelson and Sanford Levinson as well as newspaper columnists such as David Sirota who have called for serious reform of American politics.
- James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights (Oxford University Press, 2006, 2008)
- The Second Constitutional Convention: How the American People Can Take Back Their Government (2000)
- The Educated Student: Getting the Most Out of Your College Years (2003)
- Libel and the First Amendment: Legal History and Practice in Print and Broadcasting (1989)
- The First Amendment Under Siege: The Politics of Broadcast Regulation (Greenwood Press, 1981)
Publications: Journal Articles
- "The Second Convention Movement, 1787-1789," Constitutional Commentary (Fall 2007). (pp. 567–600).
- "The First Amendment at the Crossroads: Free Expression and New Media Technology," 2 Communication Law and Policy No. 2 Law Division, AEJMC (Spring, 1997). (published April, 1997). (pp. 165–212).
- "A First Amendment Exception to the ‘Collateral Bar’ Rule: Protecting Freedom of Expression and the Legitimacy of Courts," 22 Pepperdine Law Review No. 2 (Winter, 1995). (published May, 1995). (pp. 405-465).
- "Judicial Discretion and the First Amendment: Extending the Holding Beyond the Facts Through ‘Contiguous Decision Making,’" 13 Comm/Ent - A Journal of Communications and Entertainment Law No. 1 Hastings College of the Law, University of California, San Francisco (Fall, 1990). (published January, 1991). (pp. 15-56).
- "The Evolution of Libel Laws: Complexity and Inconsistency," Book Research Quarterly (Winter, 1989). (published June, 1989). (pp. 59–95). (reprinted from Libel and the First Amendment).
- "May It Rest in Peace: Public Interest and Public Access in the Post-Fairness Doctrine Era," 11 Comm/Ent - A Journal of Communications and Entertainment Law No. 2 Hastings College of the Law, University of California, San Francisco (Winter, 1989). (published April, 1989). (pp. 219–290).
- "The ‘Collateral Bar’ Rule and the First Amendment: The Constitutionality of Enforcing Unconstitutional Orders," 37 American University Law Review No. 2 (Winter, 1988). (published March, 1988). (pp. 323-377).
- "Pennsylvania and Supreme Court Libel Decisions: The ‘Libel Capital of the Nation’ Tries to Comply," 25 Duquesne Law Review No. 1 (Fall, 1986). (published February, 1987). (pp. 87-128).
- "The Legal Environment of Investigative Reporters: A Pilot Study," Newspaper Research Journal (Spring, 1985). (pp. 13–19). (Co-author: John Pavlik).
- "The Second Constitutional Convention -- How the American People Can Take Back Their Government". Biblio.com. 2009-10-01. Retrieved 2009-10-01.
- "The second constitutional convention". Open Library. 2000. Retrieved 2009-10-01.
- Lloyd de Vries (Oct 24, 2006). "Constitution, Schmonstitution: Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen Looks At Suggestions For Dumping The Document". CBS News. Retrieved 2010-01-10. "Which brings me to the best book of them all — and the only one of the four worth remembering — and that is Labunski's unheralded "James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights" (Oxford 2006). The University of Kentucky journalism professor offers in mind-numbing detail Madison's efforts first to prevent a bill of rights from being incorporated into the text of the Constitution, and then his real politic realization that the Constitution itself only would be accepted by his fellow Founders if in the end it did include a bill of particularized rights and freedoms. To absorb the Madison book is to understand that the Constitution is neither the Ark of the Covenant (as Thomas Jefferson once famously said) nor a mere legal guidepost along the American way that ought to be dispensed with in difficult times."
- "How Virginia Saved America, and Why Feb. 2 Should Be a Holiday". The Washington Post. February 4, 2007. Retrieved 2009-10-01.
- Richard Benedetto (2000-10-29). "Popular vote, Electoral College vote at odds?". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-10-01.
- Lloyd de Vries (Oct 24, 2006). "Constitution, Schmonstitution: Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen Looks At Suggestions For Dumping The Document". CBS News. Retrieved 2010-01-10. "It is instead, as Labunski laboriously points out, a document conceived and drafted by rich white men during the political moment of their lives; a document brilliant mostly for its ambiguities and its ability (thanks to generations of judges as polished and as responsible for our rule of law as any of Madison's gang) to foresee the potential, indeed, the destiny, of a changed and changing world."
- James O'Toole (December 12, 2011). "Constitutional convention call gains traction". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2011-12-14. ""We need some constitutional amendments rather urgently that could not be enacted any other way," said Richard Labunski, a University of Kentucky scholar and the author of "The Second Constitutional Convention: How the American People Can Take Back Their Government." "We need to give challengers a better chance of unseating incumbents, and it simply will not happen that Congress would vote to limit its own powers," he argued."
- Jeff Worley (2009-10-01). "Re-empowering the People: A Plan for a Resurgent Democracy". University of Kentucky. Retrieved 2009-10-01.
- "Richard Labunski". Richard Labunski.com. 2009-10-01. Retrieved 2009-10-01.
- Andrew Cohen (2008-01-30). "Summer Reading for Law Nerds". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-10-01.