August 31, 2006

Famed First Amendment scholar Leonard W. Levy dies

By Ronald K.L. Collins
First Amendment Center scholar
Leonard Williams Levy, noted educator and American constitutional historian, died last week. His death, previously unreported, was confirmed by his friend and co-author, UCLA Law emeritus professor Kenneth L. Karst. Levy died at his home in Ashland, Ore.

. . .[His] Legacy of Suppression was commissioned by Robert Maynard Hutchins and the Fund for the Republic as a pamphlet; it was a revisionist interpretation of the speech and press clauses of the First Amendment. Levy argued, among other things, that freedom of the press as understood by the Framers meant merely the absence of prior restraints. Objecting to Levy's findings, Hutchins refused to print the work.

Years later, Levy noted that he published Legacy "to spite Hutchins and the Fund."

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