At Georgetown Law, Sessions Says DOJ Will Defend Free Speech On Campuses

At Georgetown Law, Sessions Says DOJ Will Defend Free Speech On Campuses

Students at Georgetown University Law Center (GULC) learned that Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III will be visiting their campus on Tuesday to deliver an address, widely previewed to the press as focusing on free speech on campus.

But during the same speech, Sessions condemned the NFL players who have been exercising their freedom of expression by kneeling silently during the national anthem before games.

So I agree it is a big mistake to protest in that fashion, because it weakens a commitment we have to this nation that has provided us this freedom. But the freedom of every individual player is paramount under the Constitution.

"We are not protesting his free speech", the group wrote in a letter signed by more than two dozen academics. "(If you hate yourself, feel free watch the entire thing at PBS News Hour.) It included whinging about the university as" an echo chamber of political correctness", a condemnation of Antifa, incredibly out-of-context and inappropriate references to Martin Luther King, Jr., and chuckling at the idea of students needing counseling when a hateful speaker comes to campus.

Outside of the Georgetown Law Center, protesters also each went down on one knee, a reference to what professional athletes have done during the National Anthem, initially because of what athlete Colin Kaepernick once said was "a country that oppresses black people and people of color".

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As he spoke, the Justice Department announced it would lend its support to a student who sued Georgia Gwinnett College, arguing his rights were violated when administrators limited where he could preach Christianity on campus.

Sessions defended Trump's criticism of NFL players who chose to protest during the national anthem. "In other words, the school favors the heckler's disruptive tactics over the speaker's First Amendment rights". I would note, of course, that the players aren't subject to any prosecution, but if they take a provocative act, they can expect to be condemned, and the President has the right to condemn them, and I would condemn their actions, not them as a human being. In February, a planned speech there by controversial writer Milo Yiannopoulous was shut down by violent protests, and he had vowed to come back.

Some faculty members issued a statement Monday night, saying they acknowledge his right to speak on campus but "condemn the hypocrisy of Attorney General Sessions speaking about free speech".

Outside the speech, the large group of students and law professors, many clad in "Black Lives Matter" shirts, joined to "take a knee" in protest of Sessions. The woman, Desiree Fairooz, faces a November trial over charges of unlawful conduct after she rejected a plea deal offered by prosecutors earlier this year.

"We are committed to upholding the values of academic freedom and serving as a forum for the free exchange of ideas, even when those ideas may be hard, controversial or objectionable to some", spokeswoman Tanya Weinberg said. More than 130 GULC students had their tickets revoked and were refused access to the event. The group, the Georgetown Center for the Constitution, says it hosts programs to examine "how best to remain faithful to the Constitution's text".

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