University Professor Jeremy Waldron delivered the three-part Holmes Lecture series, the most prestigious talks at Harvard Law School, on October 5 through 7. Named for Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., the lecture series occurs every three years.

Taking as his theme “Dignity and Defamation: The Visibility of Hate,” Waldron titled the individual lectures “Why Call Hate Speech Group Libel?,” “What Does a Well-Ordered Society Look Like?,” and “Libel and Legitimacy.” First examining hate-speech laws around the world and the meaning of group libel, Waldron then turned to the question of whether such laws contribute to a well-ordered society, and, finally, to the effects of those speech restrictions on other laws.

Previous Holmes lecturers include Supreme Court justices William J. Brennan Jr., Stephen Breyer, Owen Roberts, and Antonin Scalia; U.S. Court of Appeals judges Guido Calabresi, Visiting Professor of Law Harry T. Edwards, Learned Hand, and Richard Posner; Ronald Dworkin, Frank Henry Sommer Professor of Law; Cass Sunstein, currently the administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs; and influential legal philosopher H.L.A. Hart.

The Holmes Lecture series is the 13th major lecture that Waldron has given at top universities around the globe.

Posted on October 12, 2009