Legal Conference on Freedom of Speech and Religion: Part 1


Burka JusticeLast Tuesday and Wednesday I attended the International Legal Conference on Freedom of Speech and Religion at Congressional Auditorium at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center in Washington, D.C., sponsored by (among others) the International Free Press Society.

Our hostess for the event was Ann Fishman, the founder and director of Liberty Legal Project International, who did a superb job of corralling well-informed and articulate experts as speakers and panel participants.

This was not your ordinary run-of-the-mill conservative conference, and the amount of substantive material was so extensive that I can’t do it justice in a single post. So I’ll just give an overview here, listing the panels and the speakers, and then in subsequent posts break out the material based on the general topic.

The panel discussions were as follows:

    Tuesday October 27th, Morning
1.   Comparative Survey of the Substantive Law Establishing Free Speech

Moderator: Diana West

Panelists: David Harris, Elizabeth Samson, Morten Messerschmidt, Dr. Karin Karlekar, and Ellis Washington.

2.   Technology, Speech, and the New Media Outlet

Moderator: Ann Fishman

Panelists: Bob Corn-Revere, Dr. Karin Karlekar, David Sobel, and Pamela Geller

3.   Limitations on Free Speech

Moderator: Frank Gaffney

Panelists: David Yerushalmi, Robert Muise, Diana West, David Harris, and Morten Messerschmidt

    Tuesday October 27th, Afternoon
1.   Censorship of the Media via the Fairness Doctrine

Moderator: Joyce Kaufman

Panelists: Bob Corn-Revere and Robert Muise

2.   The Rifqa Bary Case

Moderator: Pamela Geller

Panelists: Robert Spencer and Andrew Bostom

    Wednesday October 28th, Morning
1.   Comparative Survey of Freedom of Religion Under the Law

Moderator: Frank Gaffney

Panelists: William Wagner, Horatio Mihet, Andrea Williams, Elizabeth Samson, and Sam Solomon

2.   Limitations on Freedom of Religion

Moderator: Frank Gaffney

Panelists: Robert Muise, David Yerushalmi, Andrea Williams, Horatio Mihet, and William Wagner

    Wednesday October 28th, Afternoon
1.   Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) & Libel Tourism

Moderator: Brooke Goldstein

Panelists: Morten Messerschmidt, Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, Dr. Paul Williams, Joe Sharkey, David Harris, and Adam Hasner

2.   Tough Questions

Moderator: Lars Hedegaard

Panelists: Brooke Goldstein, William Wagner, Sam Solomon, Andrea Williams, and David Yerushalmi

– – – – – – – –

  • Rep. Paul Brown (R-GA)
  • Morten Messerschmidt, MEP (Danskfolkeparti)
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
  • Malcolm Everard MacLaren Pearson, Baron Pearson of Rannoch (Member of the House of Lords for UKIP)
  • Special Video Presentation by Dr. Michael Savage
  • Ellis Washington (Michael Savage’s official biographer)
  • Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC)
  • Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL)
  • Diana West (Author of Death of the Grownup)
  • Roger Hedgecock (Talk radio host, Dan Diego)

Starting tomorrow, I’ll survey some of the material that was covered, breaking it down somewhat arbitrarily into the following topics:

1.   Creeping sharia within the Western democracies
2.   The erosion of free speech: intimidation, legal action, self-censorship, “the chilling effect”, political correctness, and the current assault on the First Amendment
3.   Lawfare and libel tourism
4.   The blurring of boundaries: hate speech, defamation, sedition, and incitement
5.   Aggressive secularization and the abuse of the Establishment Clause
6.   The weaponizing of human rights principles against the West by the OIC, the EU, and the UN to suppress any criticism of Islam
7.   An overview of Canada and Europe

So stay tuned.