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Debating Our Rights: The First Amendment

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019, 07:00pm

Democracy depends on deliberation and debate, but when do we actually get to take on our biggest ideas? On Wednesday, June 12th at 7 PM, Meg Mott, politics professor at Marlboro College, will open up the First Amendment for debate.

“The First Amendment is the Queen of Rights,” explains Mott. “Without freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, we don’t have a liberal democracy. But none of the freedoms in the Bill of Rights are absolute. Even speech needs to be regulated in order to protect the public peace. The question is, where do we draw the line?”

The presentation begins with a brief overview of relevant Supreme Court decisions. “The good thing about Supreme Court cases is that they provide reasonable arguments on both sides of an issue,” explains Mott. “You may not agree with a decision, but the reasoning is always thoughtful and considered.”  Once the pros and cons are understood, the audience will be asked to weigh in on the debate. What does it mean for a town if some hateful speech is censured but other questionable comments are not?

The Series will continue on July 17th with a discussion of the Second and Third Amendments. All events are free and open to the public.

Location  Main Reading Room

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