The First Amendment: Freedom of Speech and Religious Rights
Richard S. Cohen
Online Zoom class
Understanding today's First Amendment issues requires knowledge of the history of the rights it protects and their treatment in the courts for 230 years. Always at issue have been freedom to speak your mind, to freely assemble, to present grievances to government, to publish the truth, to freely practice your religion, and not to be oppressed by another's. We deal particularly today with disputes over the right to assemble to protest injustice, with censorship of speech on campus, with the responsibility of internet platforms for the content of postings, and with the extent of religious rights.
The format will be partly lecture with encouragement of free class participation via Zoom. Questions, dissents, and Bronx Cheers will be equally welcome. Course materials will be court decisions and commentary on them, and all will be available online. Links to reliable sources will be provided.
About the instructor
Richard Cohen is a retired judge of the NJ Superior Court, Appellate Division. He does not claim constitutional expertise, but he is concerned with the issues presented and has studied them from an appellate judge’s point of view. He has presented two earlier courses on American Constitutional History and The Sources of Constitutional Conflicts.