Ronald K. L. Collins

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Ronald K. L. Collins
Ronald Collins (2013).JPG
BornSanta Monica, California
Alma materUniversity of California at Santa Barbara
Loyola Law School
Literary movementHistory Book Festival

Ronald K.L. Collins is the co-founder and co-director of the History Book Festival and co-founder and co-chair of the First Amendment Salons. He was the Harold S. Shefelman Scholar at the University of Washington School of Law[1]. From 2002 to 2009 he was a scholar at the Newseum's First Amendment Center.[2]


Born in Santa Monica, California, Collins grew up in Southern California. He graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a degree in political philosophy and received a law degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, where he was a member of the Law Review. Afterwards, Collins served as a law clerk to Justice Hans A. Linde on the Oregon Supreme Court and was a Supreme Court Fellow under United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger.

After working with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and the Legal Aid Society of Orange County, Collins was a teaching fellow at Stanford Law School.[citation needed] Thereafter, he taught constitutional law, contracts, and commercial law at Temple Law School and The George Washington University Law School and other schools.[citation needed]

-- 2002, the Los Angeles Times selects The Trials of Lenny Bruce (co-auhored with David Skover) as one of the best books of the year.[citation needed] The following year, Collins and Skover successfully petitioned the governor of New York to posthumously pardon Lenny Bruce.[citation needed] In 2004, they received the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award.[citation needed]

-- 2009, he served as the president of the Supreme Court Fellows Alumni Association, and in 2011 he received the Association's Administration of Justice award "in recognition of his scholarly and professional achievements in advancing the rule of law."

-- 2010, Collins was a fellow in residence at the Norman Mailer Writers Colony in Provincetown, Massachusetts.[citation needed] He was also on the board of editors (now staff writer) of the Washington Independent Review of Books.[citation needed]

-- 2011, Collins became the book editor for SCOTUSblog, a blog devoted to news and analysis concerning the U.S. Supreme Court.[citation needed]

-- 2012, Collins received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the editors of the Washington Law Review.[citation needed] In 2012, the American Society of Legal Writers awarded him a Scribes Book Award (bronze) for We Must not be Afraid to be Free (written with Sam Chaltain).[citation needed] In 2013, Mania, a book co-authored with David Skover, was selected by the San Francisco Book Festival as runner up in the best book of American history category.[citation needed]

-- 2014 he became a permanent contributor to the Concurring Opinions blog, for which he wrote the First Amendment News (FAN) column.

-- Also in 2014, he launched (with Lee Levine and David Skover) the First Amendment Salon.

-- 2014 to 2015, he did a series of 12 blog posts on Judge Richard Posner. The series was titled "Posner on Posner." Among other things, the series consisted of a number of Q&A interviews Collins did with Posner.

-- 2015 he joined the board of editors of the Journal of Legal Education, a journal published by the American Association of Law Schools.

-- 2016 he became the Editor-in-Chief of the online First Amendment Library (published by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education).

-- 2017 Collins is one of the founders and co-directors of The History Book Festival, which launched in Lewes, Delaware in October of 2017.

-- May 1, 2018 (Law Day) Collins interviewed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

-- January-April of 2019, he delivered 10 lectures on the Life and Legacy of Simone Weil, at the Lewes, DE., Public Library.

-- February of 2019, he became the Editor-in-Chief of First Amendment News (published online by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education).

-- June-August of 2019, he delivered eight lectures on Justice Holmes and the Civil War at the Lewes, DE., Public Library.

-- September 2019, release of his college e-text book on free speech

Select C-SPAN & Other Video Appearances[edit]

Selected publications[edit]


  • Co-authored with Will Creeley & David Hudson, First Things First – A Modern Coursebook on Free Speech Fundamentals (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, e-book, September 2019)
  • Co-authored with David Skover, The People v. Ferlinghetti The Fight to Publish Allen Ginsberg's Howl (Rowman & Littlefield, March 2019)
  • Co-authored with David Skover, Robotica: Speech Rights & Artificial Intelligence (Cambridge University Press, 2018)
  • Co-authored with David Skover, The Judge: 26 Machiavellian Lessons (Oxford University Press, 2017)
  • Co-authored with David Skover, When Money Speaks: The McCutcheon Case, Campaign Finance Law & the First Amendment(Top Five Books, 2014)
  • Co-authored with David Skover, On Dissent: Its Meaning in America (Cambridge University Press, 2013)
  • Co-authored with David Skover, Mania: The Story of the Outraged & Outrageous Lives that Launched a Cultural Revolution (Top Five Books, 2013)
  • Nuanced Absolutism: Floyd Abrams & the First Amendment (Carolina Academic Press, 2013)
  • Co-authored with David Skover, The Trials of Lenny Bruce: The Fall & Rise of an American Icon - Revised & Expanded Tenth Anniversary Edition (e-book, Top Five Books Press, 2012)
  • Co-authored with Sam Chaltain, We Must not be Afraid to be Free: Stories of Free Expression in America (Oxford University Press, 2011)
  • Edited The Fundamental Holmes: A Free Speech Chronicle and Reader (Cambridge University Press, 2010)
  • Co-authored with David Skover, The Trials of Lenny Bruce (Sourcebooks, 2002)
  • Co-authored with David Skover, The Death of Discourse, (Carolina Academic Press, 2nd ed., 2005)
  • Edited The Death of Contract (Ohio State University Press, 2nd ed. 1995)
  • Edited Constitutional Government in America (Carolina Academic Press, 1980)

Book chapters[edit]

  • Contributed to Edward Rubin (ed.), Legal Education in the Digital Age
  • Contributed to Bradley D. McGraw (ed.), Developments in State Constitutional Law
  • Contributed to Lawrence A. Kane, Jr. (ed.),The Legal Rights of Citizens with Mental Retardation
  • Contributed to Sonia Maasik & Jack Solomon (eds.), Signs of Life in the USA: Readings in Popular Culture for Writers
  • Contributed to David M. O'Brien (ed.), Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
  • Contributed to Richard A. Bell (ed.), Simone Weil's Philosophy of Culture
  • Contributed to Richard A. Bell (ed.), Simone Weil: The Way of Justice as Compassion
  • Contributed to Don Hazen & Julie Winokur (eds.), We the Media
  • Contributed to Roger K. Newman (ed.), The Yale Biographical Dictionary of American Law (entries on Lenny Bruce & Anthony Comstock)

Scholarly articles[edit]

Collins has published more than 60 scholarly articles in publications such as the Harvard Law Review, Stanford Law Review, Michigan Law Review, the Supreme Court Review, Texas Law Review, Duke Law Journal, Southern California Law Review, Social Research Journal, Neohelicon, and the Washington Law Review, among others.

Recent Focus[edit]

Teaching and writing on the life and philosophy of Simone Weil.

Teaching and writing on Justice Holmes & the Civil War

Popular press[edit]

Collins has published more than 300 articles and reviews in publications such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Washington Times, Detroit Free Press, Miami Herald, Christian Science Monitor, The Forward, Columbia Journalism Review, Legal Times, National Law Journal, American Bar Association Journal, and The Nation.[citation needed]

Collins has also published articles and reviews in blogs or on websites, including SCOTUSblog, ConcurringOpinions blog, FIRE blog, Contracts Profs blog, and on the First Amendment Center Website, among others.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "The price of free speech". OUPblog. 2013-10-01. Retrieved 2019-02-26.
  2. ^ Collins, Glenn; John Kifner; Michelle O'Donnell (24 December 2003). "No Joke! 37 Years After Death Lenny Bruce Receives Pardon". The New York Times.

External links[edit]