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Ronald K.L. Collins is the Harold S. Shefelman Scholar at the University of Washington School of Law and was a scholar at the Washington, D.C., office of the First Amendment Center from 2002 to 2009.
Born in Santa Monica, California, Collins grew up in Southern California. He graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a degree in political philosophy and received a law degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, where he was a member of the Law Review. Afterwards, Collins served as a law clerk to Justice Hans A. Linde on the Oregon Supreme Court and was a Supreme Court Fellow under United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger.
After working with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and the Legal Aid Society of Orange County, Collins was a teaching fellow at Stanford Law School. Thereafter, he taught constitutional law, contracts, and commercial law at Temple Law School and The George Washington University Law School and other schools.
-- In 2002, the Los Angeles Times selected The Trials of Lenny Bruce (co-auhored with David Skover) as one of the best books of the year. The following year, Collins and Skover successfully petitioned the governor of New York to posthumously pardon Lenny Bruce. In 2004, they received the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award.
-- In 2009, he served as the president of the Supreme Court Fellows Alumni Association, and in 2011 he received the Association's Administration of Justice award "in recognition of his scholarly and professional achievements in advancing the rule of law."
-- In 2011, Collins became the book editor for SCOTUSblog, a blog devoted to news and analysis concerning the U.S. Supreme Court.
-- In 2014 he became a permanent contributor to the Concurring Opinions blog, for which he writes the First Amendment News (FAN) column.
-- In 2012, Collins received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the editors of the Washington Law Review. In 2012, the American Society of Legal Writers awarded him a Scribes Book Award (bronze) for We Must not be Afraid to be Free (written with Sam Chaltain). In 2013, Mania, a book co-authored with David Skover, was selected by the San Francisco Book Festival as runner up in the best book of American history category.
-- In 2014-15 he did a series of 12 blog posts on Judge Richard Posner. The series was titled "Posner on Posner." Among other things, the series consisted of a number of Q&A interviews Collins did with Posner.
-- In 2015 he joined the board of editors of the Journal of Legal Education, a journal published by the American Association of Law Schools.
-- In 2016 he was selected to serve as Editor-in-Chief of the Online First Amendment Library, which appears on the website of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).
-- Collins is one of the founders and co-directors of The History Book Festival, which launched in Lewes, Delaware in October of 2017.
-- On May 1, 2018 (Law Day) Collins interviewed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
Collins has published more than 60 scholarly articles in publications such as the Harvard Law Review, Stanford Law Review, Michigan Law Review, the Supreme Court Review, Texas Law Review, Duke Law Journal, Southern California Law Review, Social Research Journal, Neohelicon, and the Washington Law Review, among others.
Collins has published more than 300 articles and reviews in publications such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Washington Times, Detroit Free Press, Miami Herald, Christian Science Monitor, The Forward, Columbia Journalism Review, Legal Times, National Law Journal, American Bar Association Journal, and The Nation.
Collins has also published articles and reviews in blogs or on websites, including SCOTUSblog, ConcurringOpinions blog, Contracts Profs blog, and on the First Amendment Center Website, among others.