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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Another Entry in my Bad Title Collection: Iowa Edition

Early in the existence of this blog, I wrote a general post on bad titles of articles in law journals. I mentioned there that Bryan Garner, the editor-in-chief of Black's Law Journal, has suggested that law journals should impose a 20-word cap on the titles of articles they publish.

I have been getting back into doing a lot of research, which inevitably leads to two things: (1) the need to seek out distractions (a need often met by writing blog posts), and (2) a great deal of footnote-reading. Both of these factors have combined and have compelled me to add to the collection of titles I consider worth mentioning in this blog.

Today's entry comes from the Iowa Law Review -- the flagship journal of the University of Iowa College of Law. The full citation for the article is 81 Iowa L. Rev. 883 (1996). Here is the title:

A Lot More Comes into Focus When You Remove the Lens Cap: Why Proliferating New Technologies Make it Particularly Urgent for the Supreme Court to Abandon its Inside-Out Approach to Freedom of Speech, and Bring Obscenity, Fighting Words, and Group Libel Within the First Amendment
This title clocks in at 45 words -- more than double the amount Bryan Garner recommends as a maximum.

I had the privilege of attending the University of Iowa as an undergraduate, and I know a number of students at the law school now. They are smart people with good judgment, and I doubt that they would slate a similarly-titled article.

Also, the last time I checked, group libel cases (a member of a group of people suing somebody who disparages that group of people) are almost certain to fail (except in very narrow circumstances) largely due to First Amendment protection. I am curious to see what the author says about that point -- although the rest of the title generally seems to make sense.

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