The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

UWEC professors present new book focused on First Amendment

Authors Eric Kasper and Troy Kozma host presentation about their new book
Photo by Maddie Kasper
Eric Kasper poses with his recently published book.

The Menards Center for Constitutional Studies hosted a presentation focusing on a new book published by Eric Kasper and Troy Kozma. “The Supreme Court and the Philosopher: How John Stuart Mill Shaped U.S Free Speech Protections” was published on April 14. 

The event was co-sponsored by the Pre-Law and Philosophy Club. Kasper is a political science professor at UW-Eau Claire and the director of the Menards Center. Kozma is a professor of philosophy and religious studies and teaches at both the Eau Claire and Barron County campuses.

The book examines the language of the First Amendment and frames Mill as one of the most important personalities when interpreting the Constitution while discussing the free speech and press clauses. 

“The First Amendment is solid. And once that is set. I think then you have to sort of work through [the] why. Why are we allowing these protections? Why are we expanding it so that commercial speech is allowed? Why? Why are we adding artistic speech?” Kozma said. 

The novel focuses on Mill’s piece, “On Liberty” which has been used in numerous Supreme Court decisions and has been the leading cause in the modern interpretation of the freedom of speech. 

“Looking at, you know, not just this progression through the freedom of speech, but also when it comes to things like the right to privacy, freedom of religion, kind of personal autonomy, decisions from the Supreme Court that start taking off in the 1960s,” Kasper said. “You see the thinking in that part of the book also reflected in a lot of these Supreme Court decisions.”

The book has been in the works since 2019 when Kasper and Kozma first created a paper on the subject. 

“Initially we wrote a paper for a conference after noticing elements of John Stuart Mill philosophy in various aspects of Supreme Court opinions. After we presented in the conference, we published the article and we got working on another article and eventually, it kind of came together,” Kasper said. 

The book has received positive reviews from professionals like Jeff Kosseff, author and law professor at the Naval Academy

“Eric T. Kasper and Troy A. Kozma have compiled an excellent, thought-provoking analysis of how ‘On Liberty’ has shaped free speech jurisprudence in the United States over the past century. Their examination of the relevant court cases is engaging, and the book is exceptionally well-researched and sourced,” Kosseff said. 

Kasper and Kozma have been working together since they both taught together from 2007 to 2014 at UW-Eau Claire Barron County, and even though they work in different fields have managed to collaborate on this project.

Leick can be reached at [email protected].

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *