I'm not sure how accurate these reports are. But I'm very surprised to see a defense of these laws from law professor Brian Leiter. I don't know a lot about Brian Leiter, but he's apparently "the youngest chairholder in the history of the law school at Texas," as well as being a prominent law-blogger. His defense of these laws is basically that he considers them to be "civilized." David Bernstein offers a detailed rebuttal over at the Volokh conspiracy, which is worth reading. I'm shocked and appalled that a respected legal theorist at a top law school would defend these laws, especially with such a dismissive argument. I just hope the first amendment can stand up to a nation of lawyers trained by people like Leiter.
One surprising and ridiculous part of Leiter's rant that goes unmentioned by Bernstein is this quote:
It's also true that if you're skeptical about U.S. motives in Iraq (and elsewhere) and think the invasion was on a par, morally, with the Soviet invasion of Aghanistan [sic]; if you believe nationalized health care is preferable to a system which caters to the needs of the insurance industry; if you think redistributive taxation is a requirement of justice; if, in short, you dissent from the neoliberal paradigm and chauvinist nationalism that dominate the public sphere in the United States, you will have far more freedom of speech in Canada: for example, your views might be expressible outside your living room, perhaps, say, in major newspapers, or even on television.Perhaps Leiter is being a bit facetious here, but I can't imagine what he's talking about. People say those things in the media all the time. And this is a guy who spends his days at a law school, where I'm sure it's more risky to disagree with any of the propositions he lists than it is to promote them. Talk about a persecution complex.