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Published April 08, 2020
Professor Kenneth D. Chestek recently published an article in the Mississippi Law Journal. Professor Chestek, who serves as the Assistant Director for both the Legal Writing Program at the College of Law as well as the Center for the Study of Written Advocacy (CSWA), has a keen interest in legal writing and politics and often writes on how language and rhetorical tools can highly influence thoughts and perceptions in politics.
His recent article entitled, “Of Metaphors and Magic Wands: Are Corporations Really People?,” explores the power of metaphor in political and legal discourse. Specifically referencing the Citizens United case, the article asserts that the outcome of that case is rooted in two commonly accepted metaphors: “corporations are people” and “money is speech.” It further examines how those metaphors arose and grew, how they blind the courts to deeper thinking about the outsized power of money in politics, and suggests two new metaphors that would lead to better results: corporations are tools, and money is a megaphone.
“This article is very timely because of intensifying efforts around the country to advocate for a Constitutional amendment to limit the power of money in politics,” says Chestek.
As evidence of such endeavors, Professor Chestek has been invited to testify before the Massachusetts Citizen Commission (MCC) about the topic covered in his article. The MCC is a commission formed after a statewide referendum, and is charged with making recommendations to the state legislature about the text of a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution about money in politics.
Professor Chestek joined the University of Wyoming College of Law faculty in the summer of 2012. He graduated cum laude from University of Pittsburgh School of Law where he was Editor in Chief of the Law Review. He practiced law for 21 years in Pennsylvania in a variety of settings, from solo practice to managing attorney for a branch office of a large law firm. While in practice, he also served for 18 years as Chief Civil Counsel to Erie County, Pennsylvania.
From 2010 to 2012 he served as President of the Legal Writing Institute (LWI), an organization of more than 2700 legal writing professionals in the United States and around the world. Previously, he served as a member of the Board of Directors and Treasurer of LWI. From 2005-2008 he co-chaired the ALWD/LWI Annual Survey Committee, and from 2004-2008 he served as a member of the Editorial Board of Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute, a peer-reviewed academic journal.
He has published and given lectures on a wide variety of subjects, including metaphor, persuasion, teaching methods, tax exemption policy, hospitals and the uses of computers in law offices.
In addition to his teaching and scholarship, Professor Chestek runs the externship program at the College of Law and is currently serving the greater University as the Chair of the Faculty Senate.
His article is available to download online through the Mississippi Law Journal, (89 Miss. L.J. 1).