All posts by Geoffrey R. Stone

Geoffrey Stone has been a member of the law faculty since 1973. From 1987 to 1993, Mr. Stone served as Dean of the Law School, and from 1993 to 2002 he served as Provost of the University of Chicago. Mr. Stone received his undergraduate degree in 1968 from the University of Pennsylvania and his law degree in 1971 from the University of Chicago Law School, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review. Mr. Stone served as a law clerk to Judge J. Skelly Wright of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and to Justice William J. Brennan Jr. of the Supreme Court of the United States. Mr. Stone was admitted to the New York Bar in 1972. Mr. Stone teaches and writes primarily in the area of constitutional law. His most recent books are Top Secret: When Our Government Keeps Us in the Dark (2007) and War and Liberty: An American Dilemma (2007). Mr. Stone’s Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism (2004) received numerous national awards, including the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for 2005, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for 2004 as the best book in the field of history, the American Political Science Association's Kammerer Award for 2005 for the best book in Political Science, the Hefner Award for the best book on the First Amendment, and Harvard University's 2005 Goldsmith Award for the best book in the field of Public Affairs. Mr. Stone is currently chief editor of a fifteen-volume series, Inalienable Rights, which is being published by the Oxford University Press between 2006 and 2012. The authors in the series include, among others, Richard Posner, Richard Epstein, Alan Dershowitz, Larry Lessig, Martha Nussbaum, Jack Rakove, Pamela Karlan, Lee Bollinger, and Larry Tribe. Mr. Stone is working on a new book, Sexing the Constitution, which will explore the historical evolution in western culture of the intersection of sex, religion, and law. His past works include Eternally Vigilant: Free Speech in the Modern Era (2001), The Bill of Rights in the Modern State (1992) (with Mr. Epstein and Mr. Sunstein), Constitutional Law (6th ed. 2009) (with Mr. Sunstein), and The First Amendment (3d ed. 2008) (with Mr. Sunstein). Mr. Stone also serves as an editor of the Supreme Court Review (with Mr. Hutchinson and Mr. Strauss), and he writes frequently for huffingtonpost.com and for such publications as the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Wall Street Journal. Among his many public activities, Mr. Stone is a member of the national Board of Directors of the American Constitution Society, a member of the National Advisory Council of the American Civil Liberties Union, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the American Philosophical Society, a member of the American Law Institute, a member of the Straight for Equality Project of PFLAG, and a member of the Board of the Chicago Children's Choir.

WikiLeaks, the Proposed SHIELD Act, and the First Amendment

The release of formerly classified documents and government cables by the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks in 2010 poses a dilemma. The government often has exclusive possession of information about its policies, programs, processes, and activities that would be of great value to informed public debate. But government officials often insist that such information be kept secret, even from those to whom they are accountable –the American people. How should we resolve this dilemma? The issue is complex and has many dimensions.

Following release of the documents, the Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination (SHIELD) Act was introduced in Congress. The proposed legislation would amend the Espionage Act of 1917 to make it a crime for any person knowingly and willfully to disseminate, in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States, “any classified information . . . concerning the human intelligence activities of the United States or . . . concerning the identity of a classified source or informant” working with the intelligence community of the United States.