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National Conference on the First Amendment

Sunday, October 21 - Monday, October 22, 2018

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

- The First Amendment to the United States Constitution

The National Conference on the First Amendment: Bedrock of American Freedoms will shine a light on the critical importance of the First Amendment in a free and democratic society, to open a dialogue with Americans about the First Amendment and its central role in maintaining the viability of our democratic institutions and to help diverse audiences recognize that we, as Americans, still share foundational values. At a time when incivility and disregard for foundational principles have become the norm in our society, all Americans—regardless of ideology or politics—can find common ground in a national celebration of the First Amendment.

This conference will devote attention to all aspects of our basic freedoms, including freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, the right to peaceably assemble and to government petition. The conference also will cover modern technology, social media and more. With the help of some of the best minds in the country, the conference will challenge us to rediscover the central role that the First Amendment plays in our American democracy.

Speakers and panelists include nationally known experts in journalism, politics, law, higher education and civic advocacy, including:

  • Dean P. Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times
  • Martin Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post
  • Nancy Gibbs, former editor of TIME magazine
  • Noel Francisco, U.S. solicitor general
  • Floyd Abrams, iconic expert on First Amendment law
  • Tom Ridge, former governor of Pennsylvania, former U.S. secretary of homeland security
  • Gen. Michael V. Hayden, former director of the CIA
  • Juan Williams, contributor at Fox News
  • Hugh Hewitt, radio and television commentator
  • Ari Melber, chief legal correspondent at MSNBC
  • Richard Gingras, vice president of news at Google
  • Alan Dershowitz, renowned lawyer and scholar, Harvard University (via Skype) 
  • Video appearances by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Ohio Governor John Kasich

How to Register

The National Conference on the First Amendment is open to the public (limited seating) and free of charge.

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Live Webcast

In addition, the conference will be webcast live on Oct. 21-22 for those unable to attend in person.