Floyd Abrams, the prominent First Amendment attorney who represented The New York Times in the landmark Pentagon Papers Supreme Court case, is coming to Arizona State University to discuss freedom of speech on campus.
Abrams is taking part in the “Free Speech and Intellectual Diversity in Higher Education and American Society” lecture series at ASU at 6 p.m. Sept. 12. The event will be located on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Free registration is available online on Eventbrite.
The event is sponsored by ASU’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, a new program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences that looks beyond time and borders to explore the fundamental questions of life, freedom, and governance. It also is co-sponsored by the Cronkite School and the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at ASU.
“We are delighted to have such a prominent national leader on First Amendment issues to launch this series,” said Professor Paul Carrese, director of the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. “The goal of this yearlong series is to convene leading experts on free speech and intellectual diversity in education, and leaders in American civic life, to explore the heated debates and clashes in higher education about free discourse, civility, diversity and inclusion.”
Abrams, a senior counsel at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, has argued high-profile cases before the Supreme Court on the First Amendment, the nature of broadcast regulation, the impact of copyright law and the continuing viability of the Miranda rule.
In 1971, Abrams represented The New York Times before the Supreme Court in a landmark ruling, which permitted the publishing of classified documents about American involvement in the Vietnam War. In 1998, he represented CNN in investigating and issuing a report on its broadcast accusing the U.S. of using nerve gas on a military mission in Laos in 1970.
Abrams also represented journalist Nina Totenberg and National Public Radio in the 1992 leak investigation conducted by the U.S. Senate arising out of the confirmation hearing of Justice Clarence Thomas and, in 2004 and 2005, New York Times reporter Judith Miller and Time reporter Matthew Cooper in their efforts to avoid revealing their confidential sources.
More recently, Abrams prevailed in his argument before the Supreme Court on behalf of U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell as amicus curiae, defending the rights of corporations and unions to speak publicly about politics and elections in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
Cronkite School Associate Professor and First Amendment scholar Joseph Russomanno will moderate the conversation with Abrams. Russomanno, whose teaching and research have largely focused on First Amendment law and theory, has published several books and many in-depth research articles on the subject.
“When you consider the people who have made contributions over the past 40-plus years to the advancement and understanding of the First Amendment and free speech and press, no one has done more than Floyd Abrams, Russomanno said. “This includes not only his advocacy of First Amendment rights in our courts — including the U.S. Supreme Court — but also his many writings and talks where he shares his expertise. This event at ASU is another opportunity to learn from the best.”
“Freedom of Speech on Campus? A Conversation with Floyd Abrams”
Date: Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017
Time: 6–7:30 p.m.
Location: Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication – Arizona PBS Studio
555. N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ, 85004
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