Curtis, Michael K. 1942-
CURTIS, Michael K. 1942-
PERSONAL: Born November 21, 1942, in Dallas, TX; son of Thomas Lisle and Kent (Adams) Curtis; married Deborah F. Maury (an attorney), September 18, 1983; children: Matthew F. Curtis-Maury. Education: University of the South, B.A. (summa cum laude), 1964; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, J.D. (with honors), 1969; University of Chicago, M.A., 1990. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Society of Friends (Quakers). Hobbies and other interests: Mediation, psychology, history and legal history, writing poetry.
ADDRESSES: Home—Greensboro, N.C. Office—School of Law, Wake Forest University, 3332 Worrell Professional Center, Winston-Salem, NC 27109. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Admitted to the Bar of North Carolina, 1969, and the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court, 1974; North Carolina Supreme Court, Raleigh, law clerk to Chief Justice William H. Bobbitt, 1969-70; Smith, Patterson, Follin, Curtis, James & Harkavy (law firm), Greensboro, NC, partner, 1970-90; Wake Forest University School of Law, Winston-Salem, NC, visiting professor, 1990, associate professor, 1991-94, professor of law, 1994—. Instructor at Guilford College, 1974-77. Chairman of review board, North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 1975-85; mediator at Dispute Settlement Center.
MEMBER: American Bar Association, Association of Trial Lawyers of America, North Carolina Bar Association, North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers (chairman, 1979-85), North Carolina Civil Liberties Union (cooperating attorney; past president; past representative to board of directors), Greensboro Bar Association, Phi Beta Kappa, Order of Coif.
AWARDS, HONORS: Frank Porter Graham Award, North Carolina Civil Liberties Union, 1985; Excellence in Teaching Award, Student Bar Association, 1997; Joseph Branch teaching award, 1999; Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award, Playboy Foundation, and Mayflower Cup Award, North Carolina Society of Mayflower Descendants, both 2001, both for Free Speech, "The People's Darling Privilege": Crucial Struggles for Freedom of Expression in American History.
No State Shall Abridge: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Bill of Rights, Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 1986.
(Editor, and author of introduction) The Constitution and the Flag, two volumes, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1993.
Free Speech, "The People's Darling Privilege": Crucial Struggles for Freedom of Expression in American History, Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 2000.
Contributor to books, including Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, edited by James W. Ely, Jr. and others, Oxford University Press, 1992; Slavery and the Law, edited by Paul Finkelman, Madison House, 1996; Religion and American Law: An Encyclopedia, edited by Paul Finkelman, Garland Publishing, 2000. Contributor of articles and reviews to journals and periodicals, including North Carolina Law Review, UCLA Law Review, Boston College Law Review, Wake Forest Law Review, Northwestern University Law Review, William and Mary Bill of Rights Journal, Ohio State Law Journal, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, and Constitutional Commentary.
SIDELIGHTS: An attorney with twenty years of experience in private practice, Michael K. Curtis is a professor of law at Wake Forest University and a constitutional scholar with particular interest in the issue of free speech.
In his award-winning book, Free Speech, "The People's Darling Privilege": Crucial Struggles for Freedom of Expression in American History, Curtis examines the early history of the struggle for free speech in the United States, focusing on three crucial political battles—the controversy over the 1798 Sedition Act involving the right to criticize elected officials; the controversy over anti-slavery speech before the Civil War; and the controversy over anti-war speech during the Civil War. Curtis demonstrates that in each of these cases the free speech issues were decided not in the courts but in Congress, state legislatures, and in public discussion and debate. Curtis tells the stories of these struggles, often drawing upon first-person accounts gleaned from newspapers and records of town meetings. Paul Wenzer, writing in Perspective on Political Science, observed, "Curtis does an outstanding job of bringing [the stories] to life. He is to be commended for keeping editorial comments to a minimum and allowing the participants to make his points for him." Appreciating the author's "fresh perspective," Wenzer declared that Curtis "has made an extremely valuable contribution to the literature addressing the history of free speech in America." In his assessment of the book in the Jewish World Review, Nat Hentoff commented, "Curtis, as always, is free of legalese; with clarity and deep knowledge, he shows how our freedoms are nourished more insistently by the people than by the courts."
Curtis once told CA: "In 1833 the Supreme Court ruled that the protections of the Bill of Rights did not limit states and local governments. The Supreme Court has gradually applied Bill of Rights guarantees to the states and local governments under the Fourteenth Amendment (ratified in 1868). Some scholars have suggested that requiring states and local governments to obey the Bill of Rights was a historical mistake. This claim led me to look again at the history of the Fourteenth Amendment. I have always been interested in the history of liberty."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Journal of Legal History, April, 1995, Marlyn Robinson, review of The Constitution and the Flag, pp. 233-234.
American Political Science Review, March, 1987, Gary J. Jacobsohn, review of No State Shall Abridge: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Bill of Rights, pp. 278-279.
Choice, September, 1993, R. J. Steamer, review of The Constitution and the Flag, Volume 1, p. 218; October, 1993, review of The Constitution and the Flag, Volume 2, p. 364; May, 2001, D. L. LeMahieu, review of Free Speech, "The People's Darling Privilege": Crucial Struggles for Freedom of Expression in American History, p. 1679.
Jewish World Review, December 4, 2000, Nat Hentoff, review of Free Speech, "The People's Darling Privilege."
Journal of American History, March, 1988, Glenn Linden, review of No State Shall Abridge, pp. 1354-1355.
Library Journal, September 15, 1986, Milton Cantor, review of No State Shall Abridge, pp. 96-97.
Perspectives on Political Science, fall, 2001, Paul Wenzer, review of Free Speech, "The People's Darling Privilege," p. 237.
Reviews in American History, March, 1992, review of No State Shall Abridge, p. 59.
Wake Forest University School of Law Web site,http://www.law.wfu.edu/ (August 3, 2002).