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Speaking Freely

A visit with Christina Wells, Professor of Law

By LuAnne Roth
Published: - Topics: civil liberties fear and prejudice government decision-making secrecy constitutional law

How fear and prejudice negatively impact governmental decision-making

Topics: freedom of speech deference constitutional law

In a recent paper, “Questioning Deference,” Wells brings principles from both psychology and law to examine how people make decisions in times of crisis. She shows, for instance, how fear and prejudice can skew the government’s decision-making, citing the prosecution of anti-war protestors during World War I, the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, and the legal battles against Communists during the Cold War as painful reminders.