University of Virginia Law School to Host Free Speech Symposium Oct. 23

October 20, 2010

October 19, 2010 — In the wake of one of the U.S. Supreme Court's most significant free speech decisions in years, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, eight of the nation's pre-eminent First Amendment scholars will gather on Oct. 23 at the University of Virginia School of Law to re-examine the theoretical foundations of the country's constitutional commitment to free speech.

The symposium, hosted by the Virginia Law Review, will feature Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit as its keynote speaker.

"As a law review, our mission is to advance the most cutting-edge scholarship about important legal issues, and few debates are more fundamental than the place of free speech in democracy," Virginia Law Review editor-in-chief Alexa Taylor said. "We are proud that the law review is able to bring these scholars to the University, and the initial interest among students and professors has been overwhelmingly encouraging."  

Participants include Dean Robert Post, Yale Law School; Eugene Volokh, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law; Fred Schauer, U.Va. Law School; Vincent Blasi, Columbia Law School; James Weinstein, Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law; Steven Shiffrin, Cornell Law School; Susan Williams, University of Indiana Maurer School of Law; and Seana Shiffrin, UCLA School of Law and philosophy department.

The scholars will debate the proper theoretical foundations for the constitutional protection of free speech. They will also examine the impact of these theoretical debates on recent and upcoming free speech cases, including Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (campaign finance), Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project (material support to terrorists), Christian Legal Society v. Martinez (freedom of assembly and freedom of religion for student organizations), Stevens v. United States (animal crush videos) and Snyder v. Phelps (funeral protesting).

The symposium is open to the public at no charge.

Symposium Schedule (all events Saturday)

• 9 a.m. Welcome and opening remarks
Lillian BeVier, professor of law emerita, U.Va. School of Law

• 9:15 a.m. "Participatory Democracy as the Basis of American Free Speech Doctrine"
Presenters: Robert C. Post, dean and professor of law, Yale Law School; James Weinstein, professor of law, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.
Moderator: M. Elizabeth Magill, vice dean and professor of law, U.Va. School of Law

• 10 a.m. Response and Critique 1: "The Autonomy Objection"
Presenters: Steven H. Shiffrin, professor of law, Cornell University Law School, presenting on the work of the late C. Edwin Baker, University of Pennsylvania Law School; Seana Shiffrin, professor of philosophy and professor of law, UCLA School of Law; Susan Williams, professor of law, the Indiana University Maurer School of Law.
Moderator: Micah J. Schwartzman, associate professor of law, U.Va. School of Law

• 11 a.m. Reply, Discussion and audience Q & A
Moderator: Micah J. Schwartzman, associate professor of law, U.Va. School of Law

• Noon‐1 p.m. Lunch for invited guests, Stone Dining Room

• 1:15 p.m. Keynote address: Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

• 2:30 p.m. Response and Critique 2: "The Eclectic Objection"
Presenters: Vincent Blasi, professor of law, Columbia Law School; Frederick Schauer, professor of law, U.Va. School of Law; Steven H. Shiffrin, professor of law, Cornell University Law School; Eugene Volokh, professor of law, UCLA School of Law.
Moderator: Lillian BeVier, professor of law emerita, U.Va. School of Law

• 3:30 p.m. Reply, Discussion and Audience Q & A
Moderator: Lillian BeVier, professor of law emerita, U.Va. School of Law

• 4:15 p.m. Discussion of Recent Free Speech Cases
Moderator: Leslie Kendrick, associate professor of law, U.Va. School of Law, with all presenters participating.