Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Abrams Institute Partners with First Amendment Salon

The Floyd Abrams Institute for Free Expression at Yale Law School recently formed an association with the First Amendment Salon, a group that hosts a regular series of no-charge, 90-minute discussions concerning contemporary Supreme Court cases, books, articles, legal briefs, memoranda, and other timely topics.

The by-invitation discussions take place at the offices of Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz in Washington, D.C., and New York as well as on the Yale campus at the Abrams Institute in New Haven. The salons are privately videocast to the respective venues to allow for an exchange of views by people in different locales.

“I’m delighted that the Abrams Institute and the First Amendment Salon will be working together to explore areas in which there is continuing conflict as to the degree and nature of First Amendment protection,” said Floyd Abrams ’60. “The First Amendment Salon has already played a major role in doing so and I’m hopeful that together we can increase still more the impact of debates about the First Amendment in today’s American society.”

The Abrams Institute at Yale Law School is administered by the Yale Information Society Project, directed by Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment Jack Balkin. The Institute is both practical and scholarly. It includes a clinic for Yale Law students to engage in litigation, draft model legislation, and give advice to lawmakers and policy makers on issues of media freedom and informational access. It promotes scholarship and law reform on emerging questions concerning both traditional and new media. And it holds scholarly conferences and events at Yale on various First Amendment issues.

The co-chairs of the Salon are Ronald Collins (University of Washington Law School), Lee Levine (Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz) and David Skover ’78 (Seattle University Law School). Floyd Abrams is a member of its advisory board.

“The idea behind the salon,” Levine explained, “is to engage members of the First Amendment community — lawyers, academics, journalists, and activists — in an ongoing discussion about some of the key free speech issues of our times. We thus welcome this unique association with such a distinguished Institute committed to the same mission.”

“Part of our mission is to bridge the gap between First Amendment legal scholars and practitioners. This association represents an important step in that direction,” said Collins.

Previous featured participants in First Amendment Salons have included: Floyd Abrams, Erin Murphy (Bancroft), Steven R. Shapiro (ACLU), David Skover, Paul M. Smith, and Nadine Strossen.

The next salon is set for November 5 in New York City with a videocast to the Abrams Institute in New Haven. It will feature an exchange between Steven Shiffrin, of Cornell Law School, and Robert Corn-Revere on the topic: “What’s Wrong with the First Amendment?” Ashley Messenger, associate counsel at NPR, will moderate the dialogue.

“The marketplace of ideas finds a welcome home in these salons,” said David Skover. “As a graduate of Yale Law School, I am excited that my alma mater is engaged in the future of the First Amendment Salon,” he added.