I don’t agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”–Voltaire
The Bill of Rights begins with the freedom of speech. “Congress shall make no law…abridging freedom of speech.” It is a venerable ideal dating back to ancient Greece. Thus, from its inception, the United States has championed the open and free expression of ideas, those widely accepted as well as those despised.
While the First Amendment protects freedom of speech from government control, it is not an absolute right. Throughout our nation’s history, The Supreme Court has wrestled with just what does, and does not constitute protected speech. Furthermore, while the amendment language specifically precludes Congress from legislating speech, it says nothing about the ability for private entities such as businesses and private colleges to regulate the speech in their organizations.
From Nazis marching in Charlottesville and Colin Kapernick taking a knee to the social media bans of politicians, citizens are rightly confused as to what does and does not constitute an infringement on their right to free speech.
Author Ian Rosenberg has written a user’s guide to free speech. A long-time media lawyer, in his book he distills the spectrum of free speech law down to ten critical issues and identifies and explains key Supreme Court cases that provide the answers. In this timely program following the 4th of July holiday, Ian Rosenberg examines several of the contemporary, critical questions surrounding free speech and the Supreme Court decisions that may provide answers. He will be joined in conversation by Professor Rebecca Aviel, a constitutional law expert with the Sturm School of Law at DU.