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ONLINE ONLY: Our First Amendment - From Sedition to Wedding Cakes?

Thursday, February 4, 2021, 2:00 AM - 3:00 AM


A link to the Zoom meeting will be sent to participants the day before the event. Space is limited and registration is required.

Our discussion will take us from insurrection to confections - and back again.

What are we to make of these 10 stark words: "Congress shall make no law . . . prohibiting the freedom of speech"? We will begin our conversation by distinguishing between the written Constitution (capital C), our cultural constitution (lower case c), and the politics of constitutionalism. Narrowing our focus, first, to "seditious speech," then "creative speech," we will trace how constitutionalism shaped the Constitution's First Amendment absolutist blackletter language from the second decade of the Twentieth Century (1919), until 1969, and currently, 6 January 2021. We also will see how baking has become protected speech. Ultimately, we will affirm that the First Amendment's apparently unambiguous wording both requires interpretation and invites debate. Our discussion will take us from insurrection to confections - and back again.

Before coming to Bend, James Foster was chair of the Department of Political Science for twelve years (1990-2002) on the Corvallis campus. Foster is a founding faculty member of OSU-Cascades, moving to Bend from Corvallis in 2002. He taught courses on constitutional law, administrative law, gender and law, and American political thought. He has published articles on legal education, book chapters on affirmative action and equality debates, as well as on the Oregon Judicial Branch.

He is co-editor of the book "Governing Through Courts" and co-author of the two-volume "Constitutional Law: Cases in Context." Foster has taught twice in London and in St. Petersburg, Russia. He was book review editor of Legal Studies Forum for ten years, and has served as president of the Pacific Coast Association of pre-law studies and the Pacific Northwest Political Science Association. Since leaving full-time teaching in December 2016, Foster is OSU Professor Emeritus.

Phone: (541) 312-1032
Event url: www.deschuteslibrary.org/calendar/event/61440

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