Summer Lecture Series 2019:
Critical Thinking For The Preservation of Our Democracy

Past Lectures:


Freedom of speech, enshrined in the First Amendment, grants all Americans the liberty to speak their minds without the fear of censorship or prosecution. There are limitations, however, and lawmakers and judges continue to struggle with balancing free speech protections with the necessity of maintaining a civil and peaceful society. Should inflammatory hate speech be allowed? In 2010 the Supreme Court decided, in the Citizens United case, that individuals, corporations, and special interest groups have the right, under free speech guidelines, to spend unlimited amounts of money in elections. Are those free speech guidelines justified?

Owen FissSpeaker: Owen Fiss, Professor of Law, Yale Law School
Owen Fiss received a B.A. degree from Dartmouth, magna cum laude, a Master's degree from Oxford, and a law degree with distinction from Harvard Law School. He clerked for Thurgood Marshall when Marshall was a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, and subsequently clerked for Supreme Court Justice William Brennan. He is widely considered the foremost scholar in the country on constitutional law. He worked for the House of Representatives' impeachment inquiry on Richard Nixon, and testified in the Bork hearings. He chaired the Constitutional Commission of Eritrea and helped draft the constitution of that country. He was Chair of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center. He is the author of many books, including Liberalism Divided, The Irony of Free Speech, and A War Like No Other: The Constitution in an Era of Terror.
Akhil Reed AmarSpeaker: Akhil Reed Amar, Professor of Law, Yale College and Yale Law School
Akhil Reed Amar received an A.B. degree summa cum laude from Yale and a law degree from Yale Law School. He clerked for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, then joined the Yale faculty. His constitutional law work has won awards from both the American Bar Association and the Federalist Society, and he has been cited by Supreme Court justices in more than 35 cases – tops in his generation. He regularly testifies before Congress at the invitation of both parties. He is a recipient of the American Bar Foundation's "Outstanding Legal Scholar" award. In 2008 he received Yale's highest award for teaching excellence. He was consultant to the TV show The West Wing and has appeared on many TV news programs, from Fox News to MSNBC and CNN. He is the author of several books, including The Constitution Today, The Law of the Land, and America's Unwritten Constitution.
David BisnoModerator: David Bisno, Constitutional law scholar
David Bisno earned a B.A. degree from Harvard College and an M.D. degree from Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis. After caring for patients and their eyes for 25 years in Atlanta, he decided, in 1992 at age 53, to attend Harvard University and Dartmouth College, earning an M.A. in Liberal Studies. Since then, for 25 years, he has developed and presented a myriad of courses within institutes for lifelong learning at Dartmouth, nationally, and overseas. In 1997 he envisioned, brought into reality, and for eight years directed our Summer Lecture Series. After returning to Harvard for a third time in 2003, when he spent a semester with Laurence Tribe at Harvard Law School, he now conducts courses on constitutional law, the Bill of Rights, and the Supreme Court.


The Second Amendment to the Constitution established that "a well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Nowhere does it define "arms", and it neither permits nor denies gun ownership for private purposes. In 2008 the Supreme Court decided, in the Heller case, that individuals have an inherent right to own handguns for lawful purposes, unconnected with service in a militia. But does "handguns" include assault rifles? Sandy Hook and other tragedies have raised the profile of the gun rights issue to our schools and churches. Is it legal to monitor everyone who has been treated for mental illness?

Joseph BlocherSpeaker: Joseph Blocher, Professor, Duke Law School
Joseph Blocher earned a B.A. degree magna cum laude from Rice University, a Master's degree at Cambridge University, and a J.D. degree at Yale Law School. He was also a Fulbright Scholar in Ghana in law and economic development. He clerked for Justice Guido Calabresi of the U,S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, and Justice Rosemary Barkett of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit. He formulated the merits briefing for the District of Columbia in the landmark Supreme Court case upholding an individual's right to possess a firearm for lawful purposes. He teaches constitutional law courses on gun rights and regulation and has received Duke Law School's "Distinguished Teaching Award". He is a frequent Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times and has written articles for numerous law journals.
Erin MurphySpeaker: Erin Murphy, Partner and Litigator, Kirkland & Ellis law firm
Erin Murphy earned a B.A. degree from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism and a J.D. degree magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center. She clerked for Justice Diane Sykes of the U.S. Court of Appeals, and subsequently clerked for Chief Justice John Roberts of the Supreme Court. She has argued constitutional cases at the U.S. Court of Appeals for all eleven Circuits. She has argued four cases before the Supreme Court. One case was on behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives on the Affordable Care Act. Another was on behalf of the Wisconsin State Legislature in the recent gerrymandering case. Erin has been recognized by the National Law Journal as one of the nation's "Most Outstanding Lawyers". Law 360 rates her as "A Rising Star for Appellate Litigation". She appears frequently on TV discussing Supreme Court issues.
John GarveyModerator: John Garvey, Professor, UNH School of Law
John Garvey earned an A.B. degree from Harvard and a J.D. degree from Suffolk University. He started his legal career as a Navy JAG, receiving both the Navy Achievement Medal and the American Bar Association Award for Professional Merit. He served for 24 years at a prominent private law firm in Concord, NH, eventually becoming Chair of the Litigation Department. He was one of the principal attorneys in the Claremont case, making a successful challenge to New Hampshire's method of funding the education of its children. As a result, he received the NH Civil Liberties Union "Bill of Rights Award". He is the founding Director of the nationally acclaimed Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program, a collaboration between the UNH School of Law, the NH Supreme Court, and the NH Bar Association. He is also a mediator and arbitrator, selected by his peers as Mediator of the Year in 2014 and 2017.


Most U.S. colleges are implementing special Affirmative Action admission policies where academic achievement is only one factor, designed to generate a student body with more economic, racial, sexual, and global diversity. They claim their broader student diversity pool results in enhanced multicultural understanding and critical thinking. Opponents of these policies claim they unfairly discriminate against applicants with better academic qualifications, and thus are a violation of civil rights laws. Several Asian-American students among this group have just sued Harvard, alleging racial discrimination. What are the legal merits of each position?

Neal KatyalSpeaker: Neal Katyal, Partner, Hogan Lovells Law Firm; Professor of Law, Georgetown University
Neal Katyal served as Acting Solicitor General of the United States under President Barack Obama. He has argued 37 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, most recently the "travel ban" case on behalf of the State of Hawaii against President Trump. He represented private law schools in the landmark Michigan affirmative action case, Grutter v. Bollinger. He graduated from Dartmouth, Phi Beta Kappa, and from Yale Law School, where he served as Editor of the Yale Law Journal. He clerked for Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals and subsequently for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. He served as Al Gore's co-counsel in Bush v. Gore in 2000. He endorsed Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court. The American Lawyer has consistently named Katyal one of the "Top 50 Litigators Nationally" and Legal Times has rated him as one of the "90 Greatest Lawyers Over The Last 30 Years".
Adam MortaraSpeaker: Adam Mortara, Partner, Bartlit Beck law firm and Lecturer, University of Chicago Law School
Adam Mortara earned a B.S. degree in chemistry at the University of Chicago, Phi Beta Kappa, and then received a Masters degree in astrophysics as a Marshall Scholar at Cambridge University. He graduated from the University of Chicago Law School with highest honors. He clerked for Judge Patrick Higginbotham of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and then for Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court. After his clerkships, he was a Temple Bar Scholar of the American Inns of Court. He has been voted "Lecturer of the Year" at the University of Chicago Law School. He was recognized as one of Crain's "40 Under 40" in 2011 and as an Illinois "Super Lawyers Rising Star". He is a very successful litigator in major intellectual property law cases and, in his position as Partner at Bartlit Beck, he is currently co-Lead Litigator supporting Asian American plaintiffs in the Harvard affirmative action case now in the courts.
Daniel BenjaminModerator: Daniel Benjamin, Director, John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, Dartmouth College
Dan Benjamin received an A.B. degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard, and a Masters degree from Oxford, where he was a Marshall Scholar. He served five years on the National Security Council staff and as a Special Assistant to President Bill Clinton. He was a Senior Fellow at both the Center For Strategic and International Affairs and the Brookings Institution. He served as Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator of Counterterrorism at the U.S. State Department, where he became the principal advisor on counterterrorism to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He has written extensively on terrorism, including the book The Failure of the War on Terror and the Strategy for Getting It Right. He has appeared on 60 Minutes and The NewsHour and has written essays for the New York Times and Washington Post.


Freedom of the press has been regarded as an essential right in a democracy in which the government is accountable to the people. A free media can be a watchdog that reports government wrongdoing, and it can be free to promote different and sometimes radical opinions on issues. Recently, as the media have proliferated and we have entered the digital world, many of them have reported blatantly inaccurate and "fake news". Some dark websites have become a forum for bigots, spewing hate rhetoric and inciting unlawful violence. Should some limitations be imposed?

RonNell Anderson JonesSpeaker: RonNell Andersen Jones, Professor of Law, University of Utah Quinney College of Law
RonNell Andersen Jones is a constitutional scholar on legal issues affecting the press, with special emphasis on U.S. Supreme Court cases. She received her law degree from Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, summa cum laude, valedictorian, while serving as President of Ohio State University Women's Law Caucus. She clerked for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge William Fletcher and for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. She was Professor of Law at Brigham Young University Clark Law School. She is the author of numerous articles for law journals, most recently "The Fragility of the Free American Press", "Justice Scalia and Fourth Estate Skepticism", and "Libel Law in a Networked World". She was the featured speaker at the Appelate Judges Institute Summit 2018, "Courts in the Age of New Media".
Andy PhillipsSpeaker: Andy Phillips, Partner and Litigator, Clare Locke law firm (DC)
Andy Phillips earned a B.A. degree from Indiana University and a J.D. degree cum laude from the Northwestern University School of Law. He was a litigation associate at the Kirkland & Ellis law firm before joining Clare Locke. He represents clients in federal and state courts on a variety of legal matters, including defamation cases, securing corrections and retractions of damaging falsehoods published about his clients by media organizations. Recently, Andy served as co-lead trial counsel representing UVA administrator Nicole Eramo in her defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone magazine regarding the discredited article entitled "A Rape on Campus". He secured a jury award of $3 million for Ms. Eramo. In 2014, 2017, and 2018, Andy was named a "Rising Star" by Super Lawyers magazine.
Richard TofelModerator: Richard Tofel, President of ProPublica, a non-profit investigative journalism organization in NYC
Richard Tofel was the founding general manager of ProPublica from 2007-2012, and became president in 2013. He has responsibility for all of ProPublica's non-journalism operations, including communications, legal, development, finance and budgeting, and human resources. He was formerly the assistant publisher of The Wall Street Journal and, earlier, an assistant managing editor of the paper. More recently, he served as vice president, general counsel and secretary of the Rockefeller Foundation. He is an author of several books, including Speaking Truth in Power: Lessons for Our Sorry Politics from Our Inspiring History (2018); Why American Newspapers Gave Away the Future (2012); Eight Weeks in Washington, 1861: Abraham Lincoln and the Hazards of Transition (2011); Restless Genius: Barney Kilgore, The Wall Street Journal, and the Invention of Modern Journalism (2009); and Sounding the Trumpet: The Making of John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address (2005).


The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution restricts actions of the government to intrude into the privacy of its citizens, ensuring their security in their persons, houses, and property, and their protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Law enforcement officers in today's digital world, however, have found new ways to track individuals and get possible incriminating data without a warrant. Authorities and social media can pervasively use an individual's personal data to track that person's behavior and communications. Should limits be placed on these actions?

Jennifer DaskalSpeaker: Jennifer Daskal, Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law (DC)
Jennifer Daskal received a B.A. degree from Brown, a Masters degree from Cambridge University as a Marshall Scholar, and a law degree from Harvard Law School. She clerked for Judge Jed Rakoff of the U.S. District Court. She served as Staff Attorney for the Public Defender Service for District of Columbia and National Security Law Fellow and Professor at Georgetown Law Center. She served as Senior Counterterrorism Counsel at Human Rights Watch and Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the Department of Justice. She has been an Open Society Institute Fellow, specializing on issues related to privacy and law enforcement access to data across borders. She currently serves as Executive Editor of Just Security, has written many op-eds for the New York Times, and has appeared regularly on BBC, MSNBC, and NPR.
Neil RichardsSpeaker: Neil Richards, Professor of Law, Washington University in St. Louis Law School
Neil Richards received a B.A. degree with special honors from George Washington University and a law degree from University of Virginia Law School. He clerked for Justice Paul Niemeyer of the U.S. Court of Appeals, and for Chief Justice William Rehnquist of the Supreme Court. He is a recipient of Washington University Law School's "Professor of the Year" award. He currently serves as Visiting Scholar with the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. He is one of the leading experts in privacy law and serves on the board of The Future of Privacy Forum. He is author of a recent book, Intellectual Privacy, and his next book, Why Privacy Matters, will be published in 2020. He has written numerous articles for law journals, including "Intellectual Privacy: Rethinking Civil Liberties in the Digital Age" and "Privacy's Trust Gap".
Peter TeachoutModerator: Peter Teachout, Professor of Law, Vermont Law School
Peter Teachout earned a B.A. degree from Amherst College, an M.A. degree from the University of Sussex, and a law degree from Harvard Law School. He served four years in the Department of Intelligence of the U.S. Army. He subsequently joined the faculty of the University of Washington while also serving as a visiting professor at Tuck School at Dartmouth and as a fellow in law and the humanities at Harvard Law School. In 1975 he joined the Vermont Law School faculty, where he teaches courses in constitutional law and other subjects. His has frequently testified to Vermont's legislature on issues like flag desecration, the re-drafting of the state Constitution in gender-neutral language, education financing, and civil union legislation. He is currently writing a book on court critic Thomas Reed Powell.


The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed all discriminatory voting practices which denied people the right to vote. But some states have enacted practices that can potentially suppress voter rights – literacy tests, ID card requirements, residency requirements, purges of voter rolls, and gerrymandering. Is there proof these actions suppress voting rights? On June 27, 2019, the Supreme Court ruled against challenges to gerrymandering, refusing to halt even the most extreme partisan election district gerrymandering.

Debo AdegbileSpeaker: Debo Adegbile, Partner, Wilmer Hale Law Firm
Debo Adegbile received a B.A. degree from Connecticut College and a law degree from NYU School of Law. From 2001 to 2013 he served on the NAACP Legal Defense Fund as Counsel and President, presenting oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in two landmark civil rights cases, successfully defending the constitutionality of the core provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. From 2013 to 2014 he served as Senior Counsel for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and Advisor to Committee Chair Senator Patrick Leahy. He chairs the Anti-Discrimination Practice at Wilmer Hale. In 2016, President Barack Obama appointed him as a Commissioner for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He has served as Board Chair at Connecticut College and is currently on the board of the American Constitution Society.
Bradley SmithSpeaker: Bradley Smith, Professor of Law, Capital University Law School
Bradley Smith received a B.A. degree cum laude from Kalamazoo College and a law degree cum laude from Harvard Law School. He is a James Madison Fellow in the Department of Politics at Princeton. In 2000, he was nominated by President Bill Clinton to fill a Republican-designated seat on the Federal Election Commission, where he served for five years, and as Chairman in 2004. He is considered one of the nation's leading authorities on election law, and is co-author of Voting Rights and Election Law, a leading casebook in the field. He is also the author of Unfree Speech: The Folly of Campaign Finance Reform, and has written articles for the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Harvard Business Law Review, Yale Law Journal, and Stanford Law and Policy Review.
John GreabeModerator: John Greabe, Professor of Law, UNH Law School
John Greabe received a B.A. degree from Dartmouth and a law degree from Harvard Law School. He clerked for several federal judges, including U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Norman Stahl and U.S. District Judge Paul Barbadoro. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, and had a federal appellate practice for 17 years. He currently serves as Director of the Warren Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership, and Public Service at UNH Law, which brings national policy leaders, public servants, and journalists to Concord, NH to discuss legal challenges our country faces. He serves on the boards of the New Hampshire Institute for Civics Education and the NH Supreme Court Society. He has written numerous articles, most recently one for the Columbia Law Review titled "A Federal Baseline For The Right To Vote".


YouTube Videos

All clips provided courtesy of CATV. Visit our YouTube channel for a look at our past Summer Lecture Series.


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