In the spirit of advancing a more informed dialogue about free expression in America, this Monday the law firm of Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz will host the first in a series of First Amendment salons. The idea behind the salon, says LSKS partner and salon co-chair Lee Levine, is to “engage members of the First Amendment community – lawyers, academics, journalists, and activists – in an ongoing discussion about some of the key free speech issues of our times.”
From time to time, the Salon will host a no-charge, 90-minute discussion concerning a contemporary Supreme Court case, book, article, legal brief, or memorandum. The by-invitation salons will take place at LSKS’s offices in Washington, D.C., New York, Philadelphia, and Denver. A reception will precede each discussion in order to develop a better sense of community. The first salon will be in New York City and will be streamed live by video conference to the firm’s office in Washington, D.C. so that attendees there can participate in the discussion.
The first salon features an exchange between Floyd Abrams and Steven Shapiro and will be moderated by Nadine Strossen. The discussion will focus on McCullen v. Coakley, the abortion protest case now before the Supreme Court.
The co-chairs of the salon are Ronald Collins, Lee Levine and David Skover. Those on the advisory board are: Floyd Abrams, Erwin Chemerinsky, Robert Corn-Revere, Robert O’Neil, Paul M. Smith, Geoffrey Stone, Nadine Strossen, and Eugene Volokh.
The next salon will occur in Washington, D.C.
This Tuesday the Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Lane v. Franks. The two issues in the case are: (1) Whether the government is categorically free under the First Amendment to retaliate against a public employee for truthful sworn testimony that was compelled by subpoena and was not a part of the employee’s ordinary job responsibilities; and (2) whether qualified immunity precludes a claim for damages in such an action. This, of course, is the case that may well test the limits of the Court’s 5-4 ruling in Garcetti v. Ceballos (2006).
Professor Ruthann Robson has written an informative and thoughtful overview of the case for SCOTUSblog, which I highly recommend. (See also her weekly posts on First Amendment law, among other things, over at Constitutional Law Prof Blog.)
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