First Amendment Studies

First Amendment Scholar Program - FASP

Congratulations to the 2020 First Amendment Scholar Program participants

The Plan II Honors Program partners with Philosophy Professor Tara Smith in sponsoring the First Amendment Scholars Program. Each spring, this group is composed of roughly a dozen Plan II students and a handful of UT faculty from diverse disciplines who are interested in exploring the ideals of the First Amendment and their implications in legal, political, and moral contexts. The Program seeks to stimulate a deeper understanding of the meaning, foundations, and implications of the First Amendment through readings, discussions, and dialogues across disciplinary and academic boundaries.

 In the spring of 2020, the focus will be on Freedom of the Press. The highlight will be a public lecture by Sam Lebovic, a history Professor at George Mason University and author of the book Free Speech and Unfree News: The Paradox of Press Freedom in America. (

 Professor Lebovic will present the public lecture entitled "The Marketplace of Ideas: A Brief (and Unhappy) History of the Press Clause" at 7 PM on the evening of March 5, 2020 in the Joynes Room (Carothers Hall - 2501 Whitis - Map). The next morning (March 6), FASP participants will hold a seminar discussion with Professor Lebovic (9:30 AM-12:30 PM @ RLP 1.302C), followed by lunch. This will provide Program students with the opportunity to have more intensive and more personal engagement with Professor Lebovic.

 Three other discussion meetings will take place from 5 PM-6:30 PM before (January 30 in RLP 1.302D, February 13 in RLP 1.302C) and after (March 26 in RLP 2.606) Professor Lebovic’s visit. These discussions will revolve around articles, essays, or events tied to Press Freedom and the more specific subject of Professor Lebovic’s lecture.

Questions for First Session:


Readings for 2020 participants:

Financial Post article - Minister walks back talk of licensing media

Washington Post article - Freedom of the press doesn't give the media any special privileges

LARB article - How Journalists Should Really Challenge Trumpism

Chapter 3 from Free Speech and Unfree News: The Paradox of Press Freedom in America

Organizations Related to the First Amendment

A listing of some organizations devoted to different aspects of the First Amendment.

Note: These organizations are listed merely to provide a convenient reference point for those interested in further research. Inclusion does not represent endorsement of the activities or positions advocated by any of these groups.