The First Amendment Salon began in April 2014. The Salon hosts a series of non-partisan programs that aim to emulate the spirit of the U.S. Constitution’s Madisonian guarantee by opening a dialogue, at once robust and diverse, about free expression in America.
To that end, the Salon engages members of the First Amendment community—lawyers, academics, journalists, and activists—in an ongoing discussion of key free speech issues of our day. Each program involves a no-charge, 90-minute discussion concerning a timely topic related to freedom of expression, whether in a contemporary Supreme Court case, book, article, legal brief, or memorandum.
Twenty-five or more invitees gather at different venues and are electronically connected via teleconferencing. The Salons typically take place at the New York and Washington, D.C. offices of the law firm Ballard Spahr. In September 2014, the Salons formed an association with the Floyd Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression at the Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut. Since that time, the events have included participants from the Yale Law School as well.
A reception either precedes or follows each discussion in order to develop a better sense of community. In March 2015, the Salons began to be video recorded. And in August 2015, the Salon first went “on the road,” beginning with an event in Los Angeles. Ronald Collins, David Skover, and Lee Levine founded the Salon and serve as co-chairs of the Salon’s advisory board.
Floyd Abrams, Cahill Gordon & Reindel
Sandra Baron, Floyd Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression
Erwin Chemerinsky, University of California at Irvine, School of Law
Robert Corn-Revere, Davis Wright Tremaine
Robert Post, Yale Law School
David Schulz, Floyd Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression
Paul M. Smith, Jenner & Block, Georgetown Law Center
Geoffrey Stone, University of Chicago, School of Law
Nadine Strossen, New York Law School
Eugene Volokh, UCLA School of Law
First Amendment Salon Video Playlist
All First Amendment Salons
- September 13, 2018, Ballard Spahr, Washington, D.C.: With former Solicitor General of the United States Donald B. Verrilli Jr. interviewed by Ronald K.L. Collins
- April 27, 2018, New York City: Rethinking Reno and Section 230: How should we regulate social media? With Enrique Armijo, Genevieve Lakier, Morgan Weiland, moderated by Jack Balkin
- February 12, 2018, Ballard Spahr, Washington, D.C.: Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission with Robert Corn-Revere and Ilya Shapiro moderated by Steve Wermiel
- November 6, 2017, Thurgood Marshall Courthouse of the Second Circuit: Rearguing Masses v. Patton (1917) with Floyd Abrams and Kathleen Sullivan
- July 11, 2017, New York City: “Sex and the Constitution” with author Geoffrey Stone interviewed by Vincent Blasi
- February 21, 2017, Los Angeles: Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch and the First Amendment with Jim Newton and Eugene Volokh
- December 8, 2016, Washington, D.C.: The ACLU & the First Amendment with David Cole interviewed by Jess Bravin
- September 9, 2016, Floyd Abrams Institute, Yale Law School: The First Amendment in a Revolutionary Era with Stephen Solomon and Akhil Amar, moderated by Professor Nadine Strossen
- May 16, 2016, University of Chicago Law School: The Centrality of the First Amendment with Geoffrey Stone and Richard Posner, moderated by Ronald K.L. Collins
- March 29, 2016, Washington, D.C.: Cyber Harassment & The First Amendment with Danielle Citron and Laura Handman, moderated by Ilya Shapiro
- November 2, 2015, Floyd Abrams Institute, Yale Law School: Reed v. Town of Gilbert & the Future of the First Amendment with Floyd Abrams and Robert Post, moderated by Linda Greenhouse
- August 26, 2015, Los Angeles, Davis Wright Tremaine: The Roberts Court & the First Amendment with Erwin Chemerinsky and Eugene Volokh, moderated by Kelli Sager
- March 30, 2015, Abrams Institute, Yale Law School: Is the First Amendment Being Misused as a Deregulatory Tool? with Jack Balkin and Martin Redish, moderated by Floyd Abrams
- March 9, 2015, Washington, D.C.: Hate Speech – From Parisian Cartoons to Cyberspace to Campus Speech Codes with Christopher Wolf and Greg Lukianoff, moderated by Lucy Dalglish
- November 5, 2014, New York City: What’s Wrong with the First Amendment? with Steven Shiffrin and Robert Corn-Revere moderated by Ashley Messenger
- July 9, 2014, Washington, D.C.: McCutcheon Case, Campaign Financing Law & the First Amendment with Paul Smith and Erin Murphy, moderated by David Skover
- April 28, 2014, New York City: McCullen v. Coakley: Free Speech & Abortion Clinics with Floyd Abrams and Steven Shapiro, moderated by Nadine Strossen