O C F I T B L O G Legal Voices for Liberties Papers on Freedom of Speech, Civil Rights, and Social Progress

Voices for Liberties Papers on Freedom of Speech, Civil Rights, and Social Progress

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I am the Executive Director of the Scalia Law School’s Law & Liberty Center. Our most significant current project at the Center is “Voices for Liberty,” which our website describes as follows: “While some view freedom of speech as detrimental to minority groups, others champion it as a necessary condition for protecting underrepresented voices. The Liberty & Law Center’s Voices for Liberty Initiative examines this intersection, considering the role free speech has played and continues to play in advancing civil rights in America, particularly for historically disadvantaged and/or socially marginalized groups. Our program includes significant research and scholarship, a nationwide speakers bureau, and numerous public events.”

I thought I would share the research papers we have sponsored so far:

PAPER: “First Amendment Rights on Trial: A Critique of the Time, Place, and Manner Doctrine
PUBLISHED: SSRN (October 2023)
AUTHOR: Alec Greven, J.D. Candidate at the University of Chicago Law School ABSTRACT: This article argues that the current First Amendment time, place, and manner doctrine needs to be reformed because it grants excessive deference to government authorities to regulate speech they disfavor by modifying the channels in which speech can be presented, burdening speech in places disproportionately used by certain social groups, and selectively enforcing these regulations. Several solutions are proposed to ensure a robust right to assemble and enable groups to speak freely and drive social progress.

PAPER: “Free Speech for All or None: Mobs, Abolitionists, and Democrats and the Public Constitutional Fights over the First Amendment During the American Civil War
PUBLISHED: SSRN (October 2023)
AUTHOR: Nicholas Mosvick, Buckley Legacy Project Manager at the National Review Institute
ABSTRACT: This paper discusses the issues of free speech in the Civil War North by examination of partisan newspapers and other popular accounts in order to understand the popular constitutional discourse around the First Amendment during the war. The paper considers many episodes which resulted in public constitutional discourse, including riots, private and military attacks upon newspaper presses, and the arrest and military trial of one of President Abraham Lincoln’s greatest critics, Ohio Congressman Clement Vallandigham.

PAPER: “Free Speech Culture as an Anticipatory ‘Reasonable Accommodation’ for People with Psycho-social Disabilities and Neurodiverse People
PUBLISHED: SSRN (October 2023)
AUTHOR: Reuben Kirkham, Lecturer, Monash University & Free Speech Union of Australia
ABSTRACT: This paper begins a conversation about the relationship between disability rights and free speech. Drawing upon the circumstances of a people with a range of psychosocial disabilities and neurodiverse conditions, it explores how a lack of a free speech culture amounts to a failure to make reasonable accommodations for a broad range of disabled people.

PAPER: “Section 230 as Civil Rights Statute
PUBLISHED: SSRN (September 2023); Cincinnati Law Review (forthcoming)
AUTHOR: Enrique Armijo, Professor of Law at the Elon University School of Law
ABSTRACT: Many of our most pressing discussions about justice, progress, and civil rights have moved online. But the convergence of mobility, connectivity, and technology is not the only reason why. Thanks to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act’s immunity for online platforms, websites, and their hosts, speakers can engage in speech about protest, equality, and dissent without fear of collateral censorship from governments, authorities, and others in power who hope to silence them.

We held a symposium last year featuring discussions of each of these papers. You can find the videos here.

And here are the papers we currently have under development:

PAPER: “Religious Minorities and Secular Rights”
AUTHOR: Josh McDaniel, Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, Harvard Law School


PAPER: “Myra Bradwell and the Chicago Legal News: speech as a prerequisite to equal rights”
AUTHOR: Anastasia P. Boden, Director, Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute


PAPER: “The Black-Controlled Town of Mound Bayou As A Bridgehead for Free Speech in Jim Crow Mississippi”
AUTHOR: David T. Beito, Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and Professor Emeritus at the University of Alabama


PAPER: “Free Speech, Fighting Faiths, and ‘Nones’: How Robust Free Speech Protections Helped Atheists, Humanists, and Freethinkers to Become Visible Participants in American Culture”
AUTHOR: Katie McKerall, Senior Staff Attorney, American Humanist Association


PAPER: “The Jewish Dilemma in Supporting Free Speech and Countering Antisemitism on American College Campuses”
AUTHOR: David L. Bernstein, Founder, Jewish Institute for Liberal Values


PAPER: “Does Free Speech Promote Racial Tolerance Across Countries?”
AUTHOR: Claudia Williamson Kramer, Probasco Chair of Free Enterprise, UTC Gary W. Rollins College of Business

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