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35th Annual Jefferson B. Fordham Debate

November 15, 2018 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Be it resolved that the First Amendment rights of members of university communities may be constrained when their speech undermines the educational or research missions of the university

5:00 – Debate
6:30 – Reception

Registration requested »

5:00-7:00 p.m., S.J. Quinney College of Law Moot Courtroom (Level 6)
Recent headlines have drawn attention to free-speech controversies at university campuses across the country. Free-speech advocates argue that a core part of a public university’s educational mission is to facilitate the education of future leaders in a democracy and that First Amendment free speech principles are thus essential in resolving these campus speech disputes. In this view, when campus speakers face censorship from authorities or calls for such from the public, core First Amendment rights are implicated.

In a forthcoming book, constitutional scholar and former Yale Law School Dean Robert Post scrutinizes this frequently-heard claim that universities are suppressing the First Amendment rights of students, faculty, and invited speakers. He argues that this claim rests on a fundamental misconception about the nature of First Amendment rights, which he argues apply to public discourse and are designed to establish preconditions for democratic self-determination. By contrast, Post asserts, speech at universities must be regulated to attain the ends of education. Debates about the proper regulation of campus speech are thus ultimately debates about the nature of education, not about First Amendment rights.

In the 2018 Fordham Debate, two of the nation’s leading First Amendment scholars debate this question.

This event will be streamed and recorded on the S.J. Quinney College of Law YouTube channel »

Free and open to the public. 1 hour CLE.

Debate Participants:

Lyrissa Lidsky, Dean and Judge C.A. Leedy Professor of Law, University of Missouri School of Law
Lyrissa Lidsky has served as Dean of the University of Missouri School of Law since July 2017. Previously she was Associate Dean and Stephen C. O’Connell Professor at the University of Florida, where she received numerous teaching awards during her 23 years on the faculty. Lidsky’s scholarship often focuses on Torts and First Amendment issues arising in social media contexts. She is co-author of several casebooks, including a leading Media Law casebook, and has published dozens of other works culminating in her forthcoming article in California Law Review titled #I U: Considering the Context of Online Threats. Her work on anonymous speech has been cited by several state supreme courts and the highest courts of Canada and Hong Kong. Lidsky clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She received her law degree from the University of Texas Law School and her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University, both with high honors. She also was a Fulbright Scholar at Cambridge University in England.

Robert Post, Sterling Professor of Law, Yale Law School
Post served as the School’s 16th dean, from 2009 until 2017. Before coming to Yale, he taught at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law. Post’s subject areas are constitutional law, First Amendment, legal history, and equal protection. He has written and edited numerous books, including Citizens Divided: A Constitutional Theory of Campaign Finance Reform (2014), which was originally delivered as the Tanner Lectures at Harvard in 2013. Other books include, Democracy, Expertise, Academic Freedom: A First Amendment Jurisprudence for the Modern State (2012); For the Common Good: Principles of American Academic Freedom (with Matthew M. Finkin, 2009); Prejudicial Appearances: The Logic of American Antidiscrimination Law (with K. Anthony Appiah, Judith Butler, Thomas C. Grey & Reva Siegel, 2001); and Constitutional Domains: Democracy, Community, Management (1995). He publishes regularly in legal journals and other publications; recent articles and chapters include “Theorizing Disagreement: Reconceiving the Relationship Between Law and Politics” (California Law Review, 2010); “Constructing the European Polity: ERTA and the Open Skies Judgments” in The Past and Future of EU Law: The Classics of EU Law Revisited on the 50th Anniversary of the Rome Treaty (Miguel Poiares Maduro & Loïc Azuolai eds., 2010); “Roe Rage: Democratic Constitutionalism and Backlash” (with Reva Siegel, Harvard Civil-Rights Civil-Liberties Law Review, 2007); “Federalism, Positive Law, and the Emergence of the American Administrative State: Prohibition in the Taft Court Era” (William & Mary Law Review, 2006); “Foreword: Fashioning the Legal Constitution: Culture, Courts, and Law” (Harvard Law Review, 2003); and “Subsidized Speech” (Yale Law Journal, 1996). He is a member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Law Institute and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the American Constitution Society. Post presently serves as a member on the committee of The American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

Moderated by: RonNell Andersen Jones

The Fordham Debate is named in honor of Professor Jefferson B. Fordham, an outstanding legal scholar and defender of individual and civil rights who joined the University of Utah College of Law faculty in 1972. The annual debate addresses relevant contemporary public policy and legal issues.

For questions contact Miriam (801) 585-3479.

Free parking is available at the Rice-Eccles Stadium. We encourage you to use public transportation to our events. Take TRAX University line to the Stadium stop and walk a half block north. For other public transit options use UTA’s Trip Planner. The law school is on the Red Route for the University’s free campus shuttles (College of Law stop).



November 15, 2018
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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S. J. Quinney College of Law
383 South University St
Salt Lake City, UT 84112 United States
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