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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
 

News

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]

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First Amendment monument

Who’s ‘Weaponizing the First Amendment’—the Left or the Right?

Brian Miller August 17, 2016
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On June 28th, after previously splitting 4-4 on the case, the Supreme Court declined a Petition to Rehear Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which involved a First Amendment challenge to laws requiring non-union public employees to pay agency fees to unions. The case is over and for now, agency fees remain in place in 25 states. Like many other First Amendment cases raised in the past few years, this case was – and still is – derided in the media and by its legal opponents as a thinly veiled conservative attempt to “weaponize” the First Amendment as a vehicle to advance conservative policies.

Truth be told, there is a trend to look at First Amendment issues through a partisan lens – but conservatives aren’t behind it. [Read More]

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Protecting Property Rights in the Sharing Economy

Christina Sandefur June 24, 2016
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New York lawmakers recently voted to crack down on home-sharing, punishing people who post online advertisements for allowing guests to spend the night in their apartments.

Last month, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a law that stops local governments from turning responsible property owners into outlaws simply because they allow paying guests to stay in their homes. The law, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and is the first law of its kind in the country, ensures regulations on home-sharing are limited to true health and safety concerns. [Read More]

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gavel with stacks of money

New Book Review: Dark Money and Plutocrats United

Steve Klein May 25, 2016
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Bill Maurer from the Institute for Justice brings years of experience in campaign finance law and free speech to the latest issue of the Federalist Society Reviewreviewing two of the latest books on campaign finance policy, Jane Mayer’s Dark Money and Rick Hasen’s Plutocrats United. Expertise is thankfully ubiquitous at FedSoc, but Bill’s wit is one of a kind. His review is a must-read, and be sure to set your coffee down first.