Finn Addresses “Alt-Constitution” at the 27th Annual Hugo Black Lecture

On April 5, John Finn, professor of government emeritus, delivered the 27th annual Hugo L. Black Lecture on Freedom of Expression in Memorial Chapel. His talk was titled "Gun Nuts and Speech Freaks: A Guide to the Alt-Constitution."

On April 5, John Finn, professor emeritus of government, delivered the 27th annual Hugo L. Black Lecture on Freedom of Expression in Memorial Chapel. His talk was titled “Gun Nuts and Speech Freaks: A Guide to the Alt-Constitution.”

The series is designed to bring to the Wesleyan campus distinguished public figures and scholars with experience and expertise in matters related to the First Amendment and freedom of expression.

The lecture series is designed to bring distinguished public figures and scholars to campus with expertise in matters related to the First Amendment and freedom of expression.

Finn discussed the Alt-constitution of the extreme right, which he characterized as “an odd mixture of the forgotten, the rejected, the racist, and the bizarre” that, he added, “subverts the very project it claims to honor by undermining the civic virtues necessary to sustain a healthy constitutional order.”

Wesleyan President Michael Roth '78 introduced John Finn to the audience.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78 introduced Professor Finn. An expert on constitutional law who also has a degree in culinary arts, Finn is the recipient of five distinguished teaching awards at Wesleyan, including two Binswanger Prizes, two Caleb T. Winchester Awards for Excellence in Teaching, and the Carol A. Baker ’81 Memorial Prize.

This lecture, which is endowed by Leonard S. Halpert ’44, is offered annually. It's open to the Wesleyan and local communities.

The annual lecture is endowed by Leonard S. Halpert Esq., ’44, and is named in honor of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

Kari Weil, chair of the College of Letters, University Professor of Letters and the College of the Environment, mingles with Finn prior to his lecture.

Kari Weil, chair of the College of Letters, University Professor of Letters and the College of the Environment, talks with Finn prior to his lecture. (Photos by Rich Marinelli)

View the list of past Hugo Black Lecture speakers online here.