First Amendment expertise was out in full force on November 5 when William & Mary Law School’s Institute of Bill of Rights Law celebrated the publication of Professor Timothy Zick’s latest book, The First Amendment in the Trump Era (Oxford UP, 2019). Read more.
Joining Professor Zick in a panel discussion were Professor Nadine Strossen (the John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law at New York Law School and past president of the ACLU) and prominent First Amendment lawyer Robert Corn-Revere (partner at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP in Washington, D.C.).
“This is my fourth book on the First Amendment, and the first written in real time, which creates certain complications,” Zick said during his introduction. “It is far less academic, in both the pejorative and non-pejorative aspects of that term; it is not heavily doctrinal.”
Zick noted that he hoped the book would reach a broad audience concerned about the state of the First Amendment in the current era.
His book is chock full of examples of the ways the First Amendment has been under attack, before, during and after the 2016 president election.
“I didn’t just want to chronicle examples; I wanted to contextualize them, politically, socially, culturally and constitutionally,” Zick said. “And I wanted to do that to try to explain and understand the implications of what I’m calling ‘The Trump Era.’ What does it say with regard to our current First Amendment in this era and what might it portend for the future of the First Amendment if and when there is a post-Trump era?”
The lively panel went on to discuss a variety of challenges to free speech, free press and dissent in the current era. Corn-Revere discussed how previous presidents, including Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, stifled dissent, the only difference from Donald Trump being that they did so quietly.
Wondering about the way forward, Strossen advocated civics classes at the earliest possible age, as well as the teaching of media literacy and use of new technology to provide more education.
Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America's oldest law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.