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NEW Podcast: Catherine J. Ross on Presidential Lies

Monday, September 20, 2021 - 4:30pm

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Series: Free Speech Battles. Interviewer: MATTHEW BERKMAN.  In her new book, A Right to Lie? Presidents, Other Liars, and the First Amendment, constitutional scholar CATHERINE J. ROSS examines the tension between the First Amendment’s protections for free speech and the need to combat the spread of lies that endanger democracy. Verifiable factual falsehoods are rife throughout the public square today, but former President Donald J. Trump’s unparalleled mendacity and its consequences for the nation – measured in threats to electoral legitimacy, COVID-19 deaths, and economic devastation – highlighted the urgent need to confront deception. In her conversation with political scientist Matthew Berkman, Ross proposes an approach consistent with First Amendment doctrine and the separation of powers: presidents work for us, they are subject to the lesser speech rights applicable to government employees, and Congress should use its oversight authority to hold the president to a standard of truth.