Vincent Blasi

Vincent Blasi

  • Corliss Lamont Professor of Civil Liberties

J.D., University of Chicago Law School, 1967
B.A., Northwestern University, 1964

Areas of Study
Areas of Specialty

Constitutional Law
First Amendment

Blasi joined the faculty of Columbia Law School in 1983. His scholarship has focused on the history and philosophy of the freedom of speech. He is best known for his "checking value" and "pathological perspective" theories of the free speech and free press clauses of the First Amendment, and for his detailed studies of the free speech theories of John Milton, Learned Hand, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Louis Brandeis."

He was the James Madison Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law from 2004 to 2009 while continuing to serve on the Columbia faculty. He has taught at University of Texas School of Law, University of Michigan Law School, and was a visiting professor at Stanford Law School, UC Berkeley School of Law, and William & Mary Law School. From 1986 to 2008 he co-taught a course in the Columbia Journalism School on freedom of the press with the New York Times reporter and columnist Anthony Lewis. Blasi regularly team-teaches his law school courses and seminars with the renowned First Amendment litigators Floyd Abrams, Jameel Jaffer, and Donald Verrilli.

He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1998. He was a 1993–1994 fellow of the National Humanities Center.

Blasi delivered the 1995 Elliot Lecture at the Yale Law School, the 1999 Nimmer Lecture at the UCLA School of Law, and the 2000 Irvine Lecture at Cornell Law School.


Selected Articles

Selected Book Chapters

  • "The Classic Arguments for Free Speech 1644-1927," in The Oxford Handbook of Freedom of Speech (A. Stone & F. Schauer, eds. 2021)
  • “Rights Skepticism and Majority Rule at the Birth of the Modern First Amendment,” in The Free Speech Century (L. Bollinger and G. Stone, eds., 2018)
  • “The Story of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette: The Pledge of Allegiance and the Freedom of Thought” (with Seana V. Shiffrin), in Constitutional Law Stories (M. Dorf, ed., 2003)
  • “Free Speech and Good Character: From Milton to Brandeis to the Present,” in Eternally Vigilant: Free Speech in the Modern Era (Lee Bollinger and G. Stone, eds., 2002)
  • “The Rootless Activism of the Burger Court,” in The Burger Court: The Counter-Revolution That Wasn’t (V. Blasi, ed., 1983)



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