UH Law Center and Anti-Defamation League present "Extremism in a Civil Society" Nov. 18

Civil Rights Experts Examine Whether Freedom of Speech Ever Goes Too Far

Chemerinsky and Lawrence

When does free speech cross the constitutional line? Is it when a university student group holds a bake sale and prices cookies at different costs to make a statement about affirmative action? Or when students hold a silent protest and turn a campus courtyard into a graveyard? Or when shouting students force a guest speaker off the stage? These cases make bold headlines, but the line is fuzzy.  Court rulings have run the gamut.

The University of Houston Law Center and the Houston regional Anti-Defamation League (ADL) will focus on freedom of expression and if there should be any limits when they host “Extremism in a Civil Society” Friday, Nov. 18, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Law Center’s Krost Hall. In addition to a general overview of First Amendment and free speech rights, the program will specifically examine those rights as they pertain to public and private universities.

Speakers include Erwin Chemerinsky, founding dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law, and Frederick M. Lawrence, president of Brandeis University.

An expert on constitutional law, federal practice, civil rights and liberties, and appellate litigation, Chemerinsky has authored nearly 200 law review articles in journals such as the Harvard Law Review, Stanford Law Review and Yale Law Journal. He also frequently argues appellate cases, including before the United States Supreme Court and the United States Courts of Appeals. Chemerinsky received a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and a law degree from Harvard Law School.

One of the nation’s leading experts on civil rights, free expression and bias crimes, Lawrence has lectured nationally and internationally about bias crime law and testified before Congress on several occasions. He also serves on the board of directors of the Anti-Defamation League. Lawrence received a bachelor’s degree from Williams College and a law degree from Yale Law School.

Moderators will be Raymond T. Nimmer, dean of the University of Houston Law Center, and Marvin D. Nathan, former chairman of the ADL's National Civil Rights Committee and a 1966 Law Center graduate.

Underwritten by the law firms of Nathan Sommers Jacobs and Berg & Androphy, the event is free and open to the public. Attorneys licensed in Texas will receive two hours of participatory MCLE credit, including one hour of ethics for attending the program.

Please contact briefcase@uh.edu by Monday, Nov. 14 to RSVP. Parking is available in lot 19B and 19C in front of the Law Center. Overflow parking is available in the East garage entrance off Spur 5 access road. For further information, please contact Jodi Bernstein, jodi.bernstein@adl.org; or Shannon Smith, ssmith5@central.uh.edu. For press inquiries, contact Carrie Criado, cacriado@central.uh.edu, 713.743.2184; or Dena Marks, DMarks@adl.org, 713.627.3490 ext. 134.