The Claremont Institute

Jan. 19 CCJ Town Hall: The Bill of Rights on Trial: Free Speech, Commerce, and the Fourth Amendment

January 20, 2017

In this podcast Dr. John C. Eastman, Founding Director of the Claremont Institute's Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, and his guests discuss a set of cases that test the boundaries of freedom of speech in commerce as well as two cases that consider whether those harmed by government actors should be allowed to seek damages from the individul officers who violated their rights.

Dr. Eastman is joined by Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow in constitutional studeis and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review, to discuss the boundaries of freedom of speech. Lee v. Tam involves the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's denial of the trademark application of the Asian rock music group, "The Slants," because their name was found to be disparaging. In Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman, merchants were forbidden to truthfully notify customers that use of a debit or credit card would result in a "surcharge." The Court must decide if the First Amendment protects these types of speech.

To discuss Ziglar v. Abbasi and Lewis v. Clarke, Dr. Eastman is joined by Richard Samp, Chief Counsel for the Washington Legal Foundation. Both cases present a claim against government officials who are sued as individuals for harming a person in the course of their job. In Ziglar, the plaintiffs claim individuals within the Bush Administation violated their Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures by detaining them as potential terrorists in the days immediately following the 9/11 attacks. In Lewis, plaintiffs challenge whether an Indian tribe's sovereign immunity protects a tribal employee from personal liability for damages when sued for committing a tort during the course of his tribal employment.