In recognition of the bicentennial of the Constitution of the United States, former chief justice Warren E. Burger, Justice Antonin Scalia, ACLU president Norman Dorsen, and others delivered papers at the first annual DeWitt Wallace Conference on the Liberal Arts, held at Macalester College, St. Paul.
Joining some of the best legal minds in America were novelist John Edgar Wideman, chemist Harry B. Gray, historian Mary Beth Norton, and psychiatrist and social psychologist Robert Jay Lifton.
Opening the conference and this book, former chief Justice Burger emphasizes the daring of those who drafted the Constitution. Justice Scalia, noting the great reduction in curbs to freedom of expression since World War I, points out that the proliferation of freedom has forced courts to distinguish between types of expression.
Although the views expressed in these essays differ widely, opinion concerning the major issue falls into two definite camps: Burger, Scalia, and Dorsen contend that freedom of expression depends on the legal structure for survival; Wideman, Gray, Lifton, and Norton maintain that social forces determine freedom of expression.