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The ABA’s Garbled View of Free Speech

John J. Park, Jr. May 09, 2017
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In 2011, Florida enacted the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act, which as Joseph Greenlee has written “protect[s] patients from unethical practices of licensed physicians,” who were intrusively asking patients whether they own a firearm, even when such ownership had nothing to do with the purpose of the patient’s treatment. In pertinent part, the Act states that medical professionals “should refrain from making a written inquiry or asking questions concerning the ownership of a firearm or ammunition by the patient or by a family member of the patient, or the presence of a firearm in a private home” unless they in “good faith believe[] that this information is relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others.” Fla. Stat. § 790.338(2). Another provision prevents medical professionals from “discriminat[ing] against a patient based solely” on the patient’s ownership or possession of a firearm. Fla. Stat. § 790.338(5). [Read More]

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Protecting Free Speech in Medicine

Christina Sandefur March 29, 2017
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Under federal law, pharmaceutical companies can be charged with a crime simply for telling a doctor about a legal, alternative use for an approved treatment. Sadly, government routinely censors the communication of valuable and truthful information that could help improve – and even save – people’s lives.

This changed in Arizona last week when Governor Doug Ducey signed HB 2382, a new state law that safeguards the free speech rights of those in the medical field to share truthful research and information about alternative uses for FDA-approved medicines. [Read More]

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A Welcome Rebuke to Campaign Contribution Discrimination in Illinois

Stephen R. Klein March 28, 2017
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In late 2015, Claire Ball and Scott Schluter, two Libertarian candidates for state offices in Illinois, brought suit against Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the Illinois Board of Elections to challenge a provision of the state’s election law that prohibited medical marijuana grow operations and dispensaries from contributing to state candidates. (I served as co-counsel in the case at the Pillar of Law Institute, along with the Liberty Justice Center in Chicago.) [Read More]

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2017 Symposium

Student Symposium Livestream: Universities and the First Amendment

Timothy Courtney March 03, 2017
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Universities have long been thought of, and cherished, as places for the free exchange of ideas. This idea has, however, come under pressure. Student groups have now routinely exercised pressure to keep people who they disagree with off campus. And safe spaces and trigger warnings—which limit speech that some have deemed offensive—have become regular features at universities across the nation. 

Many see the climate of shouting-down or protesting the expression of others' viewpoints as the symbolic beginning of an era limiting the freedom of speech on college campuses. While surveys seem to show a majority of students disagree with universities curtailing speech, even when it is offensive, vocal minorities with opposing views have been the ones capturing news headlines and the attention of the public at large.

With the accessibility to speech provided by the internet and viral sharing of information, expression and speech spread with more ease than ever, but this same technology creates opportunities for back-lash on social media and gives a larger stage to those who would threaten the free market of ideas at our nation's universities.

The First Amendment protects principles which have always required vigilance to maintain, and today's world makes no exception. This panel will explore how these developments have affected intellectual discourse on campus and if they are conducive to a meaningful learning experience at our universities.

Panelists:

- Prof. Robert Post, Dean and Sol & Lillian Goldman Professor of Law, Yale Law School

- Prof. Phillip Hamburger, Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law, Columbia Law School

- Prof. Suzanne Goldberg, Executive Vice President for University Life, Columbia University; Herbert and Doris Wechsler Clinical Professor of Law, Columbia Law School

- Prof. Michael McConnell, Richard and Frances Mallery Professor of Law; Director, Constitutional Law Center; Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution

- Moderator: Hon. Thomas Hardiman, U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

 

 

Past panels:

Religious Liberty after the USCCR Report

Debate: ABA Model Rule 8.4

Campaign Finance and Free Speech

Privacy and Freedom of the Press
 

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A Response to Bill Otis’s "Baker’s Dozen" by John G. Malcolm

Sign Crimes

Christina Sandefur August 21, 2016
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Entrepreneurs wishing to advertise new products or services are often thwarted by local ordinances that censor their efforts to communicate certain messages to the public. In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Reed v. Town of Gilbert that such restrictions are unconstitutional, and struck down an unfair and confusing set of restrictions imposed on signs by the Town of Gilbert, Arizona. But many cities across the country continue to threaten small business owners with fines and even jail time for putting up a “For Lease” sign or a banner offering free meals to veterans.Entrepreneurs wishing to advertise new products or services are often thwarted by local ordinances that censor their efforts to communicate certain messages to the public. In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Reed v. Town of Gilbert that such restrictions are unconstitutional, and struck down an unfair and confusing set of restrictions imposed on signs by the Town of Gilbert, Arizona. But many cities across the country continue to threaten small business owners with fines and even jail time for putting up a “For Lease” sign or a banner offering free meals to veterans. [Read More]