A Taste of Justice: 1st Amend. (27) Current 1st Amend. Conflicts-Students’ Position Statements 2021

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While the First amendment is short, there are many Court cases interpreting the amendment and many current debates. After taking an extended take home exam on all of the course material, my remote law students: selected a current First Amendment conflict they had a strong position about; researched the topic; and, wrote their own Student Position Statements where they applied the First Amendment to current conflicts we are now addressing as a nation in 2021. They are also making five minute presentations about their positions and responding to questions from classmates who may disagree with their positions. We cover from 4 to 7 position statements per day. For each class, I summarize the presentations in a video presentation (but I do not identify the students to protect their privacy). In our fifth day of presentations, the students' position statements were about: whether state (or federal) government may regulate speech where sports teams have names that are racially demeaning or offensive; whether an attorney can be sued for defaming a corporation where the attorney makes misrepresentations about the corporation's product on the client's behalf; whether the actual malice test for defamation of public officials and public figures should be applied to everyone so as not to be unfair to celebrities; and, whether lawyers have First Amendment rights to reply online to negative online reviews that defame the lawyer. Applying case law to argue their own positions AND considering the positions in opposition to their own is a further path to learning for my students. Remember, learning is a path to enlightenment and enlightenment to freedom, and freedom to justice or, at least, a taste of justice.

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