My legal internship at FIRE was a wonderful experience, and it was such an honor to partner with a team of people who are solely committed to protecting the rights of others. Both my knowledge of and appreciation for the First Amendment were dramatically increased as a result of my summer projects and assignments. However, FIRE still has much work to do in educating others in the legal profession. This became clear to me when I proposed an article topic for my school’s law journal. The proposed topic, which I formulated in conjunction with the FIRE staff, sought to explore whether it is constitutional for public universities to evaluate students’ beliefs using vague and politically-charged “dispositions” criteria. To my disbelief, the editor responded that because college is voluntary, he did not really think the Constitution was applicable! Fortunately, the Supreme Court says otherwise, and so I look forward to adding to the growing legal literature which recognizes that students truly do not shed their rights at the schoolhouse gate.
This summer, FIRE hosted three dedicated and dynamic legal interns who significantly advanced FIRE’s work during their time here.
These three law students completed several important projects this summer, including writing letters to several universities with particularly egregious speech codes; researching violations of freedom of conscience at education schools around the country; and creating an invaluable compendium of FIRE case briefs that will greatly assist FIRE staff with our ever-increasing case load.
FIRE knows that, as these students move forward into the legal profession, they will take their summer experiences with them and continue to be active defenders of liberty.
For the next few days, we will share with you some of their reflections on their experiences at FIRE, starting with second-year law student James Martin, Jr. from the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville: