FAN 74.1 (First Amendment News) First Amendment Salon goes to L.A. — Chemerinsky & Volokh discuss Roberts Court & First Amendment . . . & more!
It was a remarkable late-afternoon program yesterday as the First Amendment Salon went on the road for the first time with an event held at the Los Angeles office of Davis Wright Tremaine. There was a live video feed to DWT’s offices in New York City and Washington, D.C. Those participating in the Salon (the sixth) were UC Irvine Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh with DWT lawyer Kelli Sager moderating the exchange between the two. The Salons are conducted in association with the law firm of Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz and the Floyd Abrams Institute for Free Expression at Yale Law School. (Chemerinsky and Volokh are on the Salon’s advisory board). Lee Levine introduced the program. The topic of discussion for the 90-minute exchange, replete with questions from the audience, was “The Roberts Court and the First Amendment.”
The Chemerinsky-Volokh exchange was nuanced and esoteric yet always insightful, informative, and engaging. Ms.Sager ably navigated the discussion through a variety of topics including:
- First Amendment law in the context of the government acting as sovereign vs the government acting in a managerial capacity
- the reach of the government speech doctrine after Walker
- the future of “strict scrutiny” analysis after Williams-Yulee
- whether in light of Williams-Yulee (and the idea that judicial elections are different) independent expenditures might be regulated notwithstanding the holding in Buckley
- the impact of Reed on the “secondary effects” doctrine
- the likelihood that the trio of Breyer, Ginsburg, and Kagan will be able to persuade a majority of the Court to abandon strict scrutiny in content-discrimination cases
- whether in the Friedrichs case the Court will overrule Abood (reference was made to Catherine Fisk’s SCOTUSblog post “The Friedrichs petition should be dismissed“)
- what important First Amendment issues are not before the Court but which need to be
- whether the Court is likely to grant cert. in a “right to publicity” case (see Law360 Aug. 14, 2015 news story here)
- and how the Court has yet to give any serious consideration, post Reno and Ashcroft, as to how the Internet impacts First Amendment law.
And there was more, much more, including a variety of questions from the audience consisting of First Amendment lawyers and law professors, journalists, and free-speech activists.
BTW: Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski was in the audience and asked the two professors to comment on the following statement: “The big threat to free speech in the next twenty years is from foreign countries” trying to enforce “right to be forgotten” laws against the likes of Google and ordering them to remove certain items from all of their posts in all nations, including the United States. “The right to be forgotten,” he added, “is just the first of what may be many laws that are more speech restrictive than those of the U.S., e.g. defamation, privacy, and moral rights.” [See Mike Masnick, “Google Disappears Techdirt Article About Right To Be Forgotten Due To Right To Be Forgotten Request,” Infowars.com, Aug. 25, 2015)]
⇒ Shout out to the fine folks at Davis Wright Tremaine for hosting the Los Angeles Salon.
→ The L.A. Salon event was video-recored and I hope to post a link to it soon.
→ Go here for video of fifth Salon: “Is the First Amendment Being Misused as a Deregulatory Tool?” The exchange, held at the Abrams Institute at Yale Law School, was between Professors Jack Balkin and Martin Redish with Floyd Abrams moderating.