The Accurate Source To Find Transcript To Jeff Sessions State Of Free Speech Georgetown University.”
[Jeff Sessions State Of Free Speech Georgetown University]
[Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III:] Source: LYBIO.net
Thank you very much Professor [Randy] Barnett and um… it is a great honor to be at Georgetown Law and the Georgetown Center for the Constitution where the exchange of ideas is indeed welcomed and encouraged. Thank you, for hosting me with these students today. And thank you students for allowing me to be a part of a national conversation with you.
As you embark on another school year, you and hundreds of your peers across the campus will, we hope will continue the intellectual journey that is higher education.
I love my education experience so much and I suspect you do too.
You will discover new areas of knowledge; you will engage in debates – great and small; and many of the views you have will be challenged and some of your views my even change.
You will – if your institutions follow our nation’s historic and cultural education traditions – pursue truth while growing in mind and spirit.
In short, we hope that you will take part in the – in the right of every American: the free, robust, sometimes contentious exchanges of ideas.
As you exercise these rights, realize how precious, how rare, and how fragile they are.
In most societies throughout history and in so many that I have had an opportunity to visit, as a member of the Armed Services Committee, to some of the most difficult places on the globe, such rights do not exist. In these places, openly criticizing the government or expressing unorthodox opinions could land you in jail or worse.
So let me tell you about one example that occurred one autumn when a few idealistic university students came together as a group to advocate for a deeply felt political need.
Wanting to recruit others to their cause, they staked out some ground on a campus walkway, popular with students, and approached them as they passed.
They said things like: “Do you like freedom? Do you like liberty?”
And then they offered to these passersby a document that they revered and represented these ideals: the U.S. Constitution.
These young proselytizers for liberty did not block the walkway, did not disrupt surrounding activities, did not use intimidation or violence to further their cause.
Nevertheless, a government official labeled this behavior “provocative” and in violation of government policy. And when the young people bravely refused to stop, citing their right to free speech, the local official had them arrested, handcuffed, and jailed.
This troubling incident could have occurred under any number of tyrannies where the bedrock American ideals of freedom and thought and speech have no foothold whatsoever.
But this incident happened right here in the United States, just last year, at a pub [correction] public college in Battle Creek, Michigan.
A state official actually had students jailed for handing out copies of the United States Constitution.
Freedom of thought and speech on American campus are under attack.
[Jeff Sessions:] Source: LYBIO.net
The American university was once the center of academic freedom – a place of robust debate, a forum for the competition of ideas. But it is transforming into an echo chamber of political correctness and homogenous thought, a shelter for fragile egos.
In 2017, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education surveyed 450 colleges and universities across the country and found that 40% maintain speech codes that substantially infringe on constitutionally protected speech.
Of the public colleges surveyed, which are bound by the 1st Amendment, fully one-third had written policies banning disfavored speech.
For example, at Boise State University in Idaho, the Student Code of Conduct prohibits “conduct that a reasonable person would find offensive.”
At Clemson University in South Carolina, the Student Code of Conduct bans any verbal or physical act that creates quote an “offensive educational, work or living environment.” [closed quote]
But who decides – What is offensive and what is acceptable?
The university is about the search for truth, not the imposition of truth by a government censor.
Speech and civility codes often violate what the late Justice Antonin Scalia rightly called quote, “the first axiom of the First Amendment,” which is that, quote, “as a general rule, the state has no power to ban speech on the basis of its content.” [closed quote]
[Jeff Sessions:] Source: LYBIO.net
In this great land, the government does not get to tell you what to think or what to say.
In addition to written speech codes, many colleges now deign to “tolerate” free speech – only in certain, geographically limited, “free speech zones.”
The size of the free speech zone?
616 square feet – barely the size of two dorm rooms. These cramped zones are eerily similar to what the Supreme Court warned against in the seminal 1969 Tinker v. Des Moines case about student speech:
It said, quote:
“Freedom of expression would not truly exist if the right could be exercised only in an area that a benevolent government has provided as a safe haven.”
College administrators also have silenced speech by permitting “the heckler’s veto” – to control who gets to speak and what messages are conveyed.
In these – in these instances, administrators discourage or prohibit speech if there is even a threat that it will be met by protest.
In other words, the school favors the heckler’s disruptive tactics over the speaker’s First Amendment rights.
These administrators have seem to forget that, as the Supreme Court put it in Watson v. City of Memphis more than 50 years ago, quote, “constitutional rights may not be denied simply because of hostility to their assertion of their exercise.”
This permissive attitude toward the heckler’s veto has spawned a cottage industry of protestors who’ve quickly learned that school administrators will capitulate to their demands.
Protestors are now routinely shutting down speeches and debates across the country in an effort to silence voices that insufficiently conform with their views.
A frightening example occurred at Middlebury College. Student protestors violently shut down a debate between an invited speaker and one of the school’s own professors. As soon as the event began, the protestors shouted for 20 minutes, preventing the debate from occurring.
When the debaters then attempted to move to a private broadcasting location, the protestors – many wearing masks, a common tactic also used by the detestable Ku Klux Klan – pulled fire alarms, surrounded the speakers, and began physically assaulting them.
In short, Middlebury students engaged in a violent riot to ensure that neither they nor their fellow students would hear speech they may have disagreed with.
Indeed, the crackdown on speech crosses creeds, races, issues, and religions.
At Brown University, a speech to promote transgender rights was cancelled after students protested because a Jewish group cosponsored the lecture.
Virginia Tech disinvited an African American speaker because he had written on race issues and they worried about protests disrupting the event.
So this is not right. This is not the great tradition of America. And, yet, school administrators have bend to this behavior. The effect is to coddle and encourage it.
Just over a week ago, after the Orwellian-named “anti-fascist” protestors had successfully shut down numerous campus speaker events in recent months with violent riots, Berkeley was reportedly forced to spend $600,000 and have an overwhelming police presence simply to prove that the mob was not in control of the campus. The Home of Free Speech.
[Jeff Sessions:] Source: LYBIO.net
In advance, the school offered “counseling” – in advance to of this speech they offered counseling to any students or faculty whose “sense of safety or belonging” was threatened by a speech from Ben Shapiro – a 33-year-old Harvard trained lawyer who has frequently targeted by anti-Semites for his Jewish faith and who vigorously condemns hate speech from the left and right.
In the end, Mr. Shapiro spoke to a packed house. And to my knowledge, no one fainted, no one was unsafe. No one needed counseling, I hope.
Yet, after this small victory for free speech, a student speaking to a reporter said in reaction, “I don’t think Berkley should host any controversial speakers, on either side.” That perhaps would be the worst lesson to draw from that episode, I firmly believe.
I know that the vast majority of students like you at the Constitution Center need no lecture on the dangers of government imposed group think. But we have seen a rash of incidents often perpetrated by small groups of those students and professors unable or unwilling to defend their own beliefs in the public forum.
Unfortunately, their acts, these trends have been tolerated by administrators and shrugged off by other students.
So let us directly address the question: Why should we worry that free speech that maybe in retreat at our universities?
Of course, for publicly run institutions, [water] the easy answer is that upholding free speech rights is not an option, but an unshakable requirement of the First Amendment.
As Justice Robert Jackson once explained: quote, “If there is a fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion.”
But even setting aside the law, the more fundamental issue is that the university is supposed to be a place where we train virtuous citizens.
It’s where the next generation of Americans are equipped to contribute to and live in a diverse and free society filled with many, often contrary, voices.
Our legal heritage, upon which the Founders crafted the Bill of Rights, taught that reason and knowledge produced the closest approximation to truth and from truth may hopefully often arise justice. But reason requires discourse and, frequently, argument.
And that is why the free speech guarantee is found not just in the First Amendment, but it permeates our institutions, our traditions, and our Constitution in this free unique exceptional land.
The jury trial, the right to cross-examine witnesses, the Speech & Debate Clause, the very art and practice of lawyering – all of these are rooted in the idea that speech, reason, and confrontation are the very bedrock of a good society.
[Jeff Sessions:] Source: LYBIO.net
In fact, these practices are designed to ascertain what is the truth. And from that truth, good policies and actions can be founded.
The Federalists against the Anti-federalists, Abraham Lincoln against Stephen Douglas, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. against George Wallace.
Indeed, it was the power of Dr. King’s words – his speech that crushed segregation and overcame the violence of the segregationists.
He was unrelenting in making a clear morale argument that in the end could not be denied, words over violence.
At so many times in our history as a people, it was indeed speech and still more speech that led Americans to a more just and perfect union.
The right to freely examine the moral and the immoral, the prudent and the foolish, the practical and the inefficient, and the right to argue for their merits or demerits remain indispensable for a healthy republic. This has been known since the beginning of our nation.
James Madison knew this when, as part of his protest against the Alien and Sedition Acts – the speech codes of his day. He said that the freedom of speech is quote, “the only effectual guardian of every other right.”
And in a quote that I am reminded of daily in this job, Thomas Jefferson knew this when he said in words now chiseled in his monument, quote: “I swear upon the altar of God eternal hostility against any form of tyranny over the mind of man.”
No little matter there.
So soon you will be, prehaps, a professor, university president, the Attorney General of United States, maybe President of the United States. And you will have your own pressing issues to grapple with. But I promise you that no issue will be better decided with less debate, with indifference, and with voices not listened to and unheard.
There are those who will say, that certain speech isn’t deserving of protection. They will say that some speech is hurtful – even hateful. They will point to the very speech and beliefs that we abhor as Americans. But the right of free speech does not exist only to protect the ideas upon which most agree at a given moment in time.
As Justice Brandeis eloquently stated in his 1927 concurrence in Whitney v. California: quote, “If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”
And let me be clear – protecting free speech does not mean condoning violence like we saw recently in Charlottesville.
Indeed, I call upon universities and all Americans to stand up against those who would silence free expression by violence or other means.
But a mature society can tell the difference between violence and unpopular speech, and a truly free society stands up – speaks up – for cherished rights precisely when it is most difficult to do so.
As Justice Holmes once wrote: quote, “If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for the attachment than any other, it is the principle of free thought – not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.” For the thought that we hate.
And we must do so on our campuses. University officials and faculty must defend free expression boldly and unequivocally. That means presidents, regents, trustees and alumni as well.
A national recommitment to free speech on campus is long overdue. And action to ensure First Amendment rights are overdue.
Starting today, the Department of Justice will do its part in this work. We will enforce federal law, defend free speech, and protect students’ free expression from whatever end of the spectrum it may come.
To that end, we are filing a Statement of Interest in a campus free speech case this week and we will be filing more, I’m sure, in the weeks to come.
This month, we marked the 230th anniversary of our Constitution.
What a remarkable document indeed. We have the longest existing Constitution in the world. It is an extraordinary thing.
This month, we also marked the 54th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham. Four little girls died that day as they changed into their choir robes because the Klan wanted to silence their voices fighting for civil rights. But their voices were not silenced.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would call them “the martyred heroines of a holy crusade for freedom and human dignity,” and I urge you, really, urge you to go back and read that eulogy and consider what it had to say to each of us today. This is the true legacy and power of free speech that has been handed down to you. And you could be sure it made people uncomfortable when Martin Luther King spoke about segregation particularily in the South.
This – this is the heritage that you have been given and that you must protect.
So I am here today to ask you to be involved to make your voices heard to defend the rights of others to do the same.
[Jeff Sessions:] Source: LYBIO.net
For the last 241 years, we have staked a country on the principle that robust and even contentious debate is how we discover truth and resolve the nations most intractable problems
Your generation will decide if this experiment in freedom will continue. Nothing less than the future of our Republic depends on it.
Thank you all, it’s great to be with you. […] Thank you.
Jeff Sessions State Of Free Speech Georgetown University. The American university was once the center of academic freedom – a place of robust debate, a forum for the competition of ideas. But it is transforming into an echo chamber of political correctness and homogenous thought, a shelter for fragile egos. Complete Full Transcript, Dialogue, Remarks, Saying, Quotes, Words And Text.