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Richard Labunski

Education Background: 
Ph.D. Univ. of California, Santa Barbara
J.D. Seattle University
M.A. Univ. of California, Berkeley
B.A. Univ. of California, Berkeley
Specialty Areas: 
First Amendment Law
Television News
Constitutional Law
Richard Labunski

Richard joined the UK faculty in 1995. He previously taught at the University of California-Santa Barbara, University of Nevada-Reno, Penn State University, and University of Washington. He is the author of five books, 80 newspaper commentaries, and many other publications. His most recent book James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights, was published by Oxford University Press in its prestigious "Pivotal Moments in American History" series. The book was reviewed in the New York Times, Washington Post, the New York Review of Books, and other media outlets. Richard appeared several times on C-SPAN's "Book TV." Richard is in the phased retirement program and teaches online from his home in Hendersonville, NC.

Recent Publications


  • James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights (Oxford University Press, July 2006; paperback, July 2008).
  • The Educated Student: Getting the Most Out of Your College Years (Marley and Beck Press, 2003).
  • The Second Constitutional Convention (Marley and Beck Press, 2000).
  • Libel and the First Amendment: Legal History and Practice in Print and Broadcasting (Transaction Books, 1987); paperback, July 1989. 
  • The First Amendment Under Siege: The Politics of Broadcast Regulation (Greenwood Press, 1981). 

Recent Articles

  • "The Second Convention Movement, 1787-1789," 24 Constitutional Commentary No. 3, University of Minnesota Law School (Fall 2007) (published November 2008) (pp. 567-600). 
  • "The First Amendment at the Crossroads: Free Expression and New Media Technology," 2 Communication Law and Policy No. 2 Law Division, AEJMC (Spring 1997). (pp. 165-212).
  • "A First Amendment Exception to the 'Collateral Bar' Rule: Protecting Freedom of Expression and the Legitimacy of Courts," 22 Pepperdine Law Review No. 2 (Winter, 1995). (published May 1995). (pp. 405-465).
  • "Judicial Discretion and the First Amendment: Extending the Holding Beyond the Facts Through Contiguous Decision Making," 13 Comm/Ent - A Journal of Communications and Entertainment Law No. 1 Hastings College of the Law, University of California, San Francisco (Fall 1990). (published January 1991). (pp. 15-56).
  • "The Evolution of Libel Laws: Complexity and Inconsistency," Book Research Quarterly (Winter 1989). (published June 1989). (pp. 59-95). (adapted from Libel and the First Amendment).
  • "May It Rest in Peace: Public Interest and Public Access in the Post-Fairness Doctrine Era, 11 Comm/Ent - A Journal of Communications and Entertainment Law No. 2 Hastings College of the Law, Univ. of California, San Francisco (Winter 1989). (published April 1989). (pp. 219-290). 
  • "The 'Collateral Bar' Rule and the First Amendment: The Constitutionality of Enforcing Unconstitutional Orders," 37 American University Law Review No. 2 (Winter 1998). (published March 1988). (pp. 323-377).
  • "Pennsylvania and Supreme Court Libel Decisions: The 'Libel Capital of the Nation' Tries to Comply," 25 Duquesne Law Review No. 1 (Fall 1986). (published February 1987). (pp. 87-128).

Recent Commentaries

  • "Be ready for your prime-time video moment," Lexington Herald-Leader (April 18, 2015)
  • "High Court Protected Robust Public Debate," Lexington Herald-Leader (March 9, 2014)
  • "Let the people decide: Constitutional amendments don't have to originate in Congress," St. Louis Post-Dispatch (August 18, 2011)
  • "Changing the Constitution: Obscure rule lets states offer amendments," Louisville Courier-Journal (January 9, 2011)
  • "How Virginia Saved America, and Why Feb. 2 Should be a Holiday, Washington Post (February 4, 2007)
  • "Honor Madison today for Bill of Rights," Cincinnati Enquirer (December 15, 2006)
  • "A difficult birth for the Bill of Rights," Newark Star-Ledger (December 15, 2006)
  • "Constitution not a simple document," Lexington Herald-Leader (September 5, 2006)
  • "Defending the Bill of Rights," Louisville Courier-Journal (July 12, 2006)
  • "Celebrate the Fourth by surfing our history," Seattle Times (June 30, 2006)
  • "Let voters decide on flag protection," Baltimore Sun (June 22, 2006)
  • "Know your Rights," Louisville Courier-Journal (December 15, 2005)
  • "Use State Conventions for flag-amendment vote," Lexington Herald-Leader (July 4, 2005)