Zick Examines First and Second Amendment Issues in Annual Tucker Lecture

On Thursday, February 24, Professor Timothy Zick, the John Marshall Professor of Government and Citizenship and William H. Cabell Research Professor of Law, presented the 2022 St. George Tucker Lecture at William & Mary Law School.Timothy Zick

Zick’s talk, “Arming the Public Square: The Second Amendment as a Threat to the First,” is based on his fifth university press monograph. Forthcoming from Cambridge University Press, Managed Dissent: The Law of Public Protest will provide a critical assessment of how protest and dissent are controlled under various legal and constitutional doctrines.

During the lecture, Zick examined the significant threat that open carry of firearms poses to the exercise of First Amendment rights in the public square.

Zick said that broad public carry laws, an increase in armed protest and political violence, and changing public attitudes toward resorting to violence to settle political differences have created an environment that threatens to chill public dissent and undermine First Amendment norms and values.

With the Supreme Court poised to recognize Second Amendment rights in the public square, Zick said that now is the time to consider proposals for reducing the threat the Second Amendment poses to the First. He went on to offer a variety of laws and policies that would address the social and constitutional harms of armed public protests and ensure preservation of American’s tradition of public protest.

Zick has written on a variety of constitutional issues, with a special focus on the First Amendment. He is the author of four university press books thus far on the subject: Speech Out of Doors: Preserving First Amendment Liberties in Public Places (Cambridge U. Press 2009); The Cosmopolitan First Amendment: Protecting Transborder Expressive and Religious Liberties (Cambridge U. Press 2013); The Dynamic Free Speech Clause: Free Speech and Its Relation to Other Constitutional Rights (Oxford U. Press 2018); and The First Amendment in the Trump Era (Oxford U. Press 2019).

Zick has been a frequent commentator in local, national, and international media regarding public protests and other First Amendment concerns. He testified before Congress on the Occupy Wall Street protests and rights of free speech, assembly, and petition. Zick has been the recipient of the Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence in 2011, 2013 and 2017.

The St. George Tucker Lecture Series was established in 1996 to recognize the scholarly achievements of a senior member of the William & Mary law faculty. The series is made possible through the generosity of alumni.

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