Program Details

Is Free Speech Really Free? Censorship and the First Amendment

Roy Klein
Law / Politics

Course Description

The First Amendment states in part, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” This presentation begins by showing how broad and absolute freedom of speech is on its face; no local, state or federal government entity (or private entity acting like the government) can restrict any form of expression. The presentation then explores various areas in which the freedom has been limited, including political speech; school speech; defamation, including public-figure libel; commercial speech; hate speech; and obscenity. Mr. Klein will discuss recent Supreme Court decisions in the area as well as emerging issues. The objective is to enable participants to understand how the courts analyze and decide free-speech issues so they can decide for themselves whether free speech is really free.

About the Instructor

  • Roy Klein, JD, Esq. is an honors graduate of Columbia Law School, where he was a two-time Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. In forty years of legal practice with a small Manhattan law firm, with a large national law firm and as a sole practitioner, he represented large companies, small businesses, and individuals as both plaintiffs and defendants in commercial, employment, and constitutional/civil-rights litigation. As president of the Nassau County (N.Y.) chapter of the ACLU, Klein spoke regularly to high school, college, civic, and community groups on a wide variety of constitutional/civil-liberties issues. He also contributed to a recently published Time Kids publication for middle-schoolers about the Constitution.