Recent Free Speech Clinic Speakers

Nadine Strossen

Nadine Strossen served as President of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1991-2008, the first woman to do so. She is the John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law at New York Law School. Strossen has written, taught, and advocated extensively in the areas of constitutional law and civil liberties, including through frequent media interviews. She is currently a member of the ACLU’s National Advisory Council, as well as the Advisory Boards of EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center), FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), and Heterodox Academy. When she stepped down as ACLU President in 2008, three Supreme Court Justices (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, and David Souter) participated in her farewell and tribute luncheon.

Eugene Volokh

Eugene Volokh is one of the most prominent experts on First Amendment law today. He is perhaps best known as the founder and coauthor of The Volokh Conspiracy, a Weblog that gets about 35-40,000 page views per weekday.  Volokh teaches free speech law, tort law, religious freedom law, church-state relations law, and a First Amendment amicus brief clinic at UCLA School of Law. Before joining UCLA, he clerked for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court and for Judge Alex Kozinski on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. A prolific author of published textbooks and law review articles, he is also an Academic Affiliate for the Mayer Brown LLP law firm and has argued before the Seventh Circuit, the Ninth Circuit, the Indiana Supreme Court, and the Nebraska Supreme Court, and has also filed briefs in federal and state courts across the country.

Ronald Collins

Ronald K.L. Collins is a Harold S. Shefelman Scholar at the University of Washington School of Law and former scholar at the Washington, D.C. Office of the First Amendment Center from 2002 to 2009. He served as a law clerk to Justice Hans A. Linde on the Oregon Supreme Court and was a Supreme Court Fellow under United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger. A prolific author, Collins has written numerous books on Constitutional law and the First Amendment, including “When Money Speaks: The McCutcheon Case, Campaign Finance Law & the First Amendment” (2014) (co-authored with David Skover).

Craig Brown

Craig Brown, City Attorney for the City of Manassas and the former City Attorney for the City of Charlottesville, Virginia, a position in which he served during the riots in the Summer of 2017. Brown has more than 38 years of experience as a municipal attorney.

Robert Corn-Revere

Robert Corn-Revere was lead counsel for plaintiffs in Mainstream Loudoun v. Loudoun County Library in which the court declared public library internet filtering to be unconstitutional. He also served as co-counsel in Bernstein v. United States in which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declared software source code to be constitutionally protected by the First Amendment. In 2000, Corn-Revere argued United States v. Playboy Entertainment Group on behalf of respondent Playboy Entertainment Group before the Supreme Court of the United States resulting in a 5- 4 decision in which the Court struck down portions of the Communications Decency Act. Corn-Revere successfully defended CBS Television and Viacom in an FCC proceeding resulting from the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy, the so-called “wardrobe malfunction.”

David L. Hudson Jr.

David L. Hudson Jr. is a former First Amendment ombudsman for the Freedom Forum Institute’s First Amendment Center. He is an author, co-author, or co-editor of more than 40 books, including “Let The Students Speak: A History of the Fight for Free Expression in American Schools” (Beacon Press, 2011), “The Encyclopedia of the First Amendment” (CQ Press, 2008) (one of three co-editors), “The Rehnquist Court: Understanding Its Impact and Legacy” (Praeger, 2006), and “The Handy Supreme Court Answer Book” (Visible Ink Press, 2008). He writes regularly for the ABA Journal and the American Bar Association’s Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases. He has served as a senior law clerk at the Tennessee Supreme Court, and teaches First Amendment and Professional Responsibility classes at Vanderbilt University School of Law and various classes at the Nashville School of Law.

Margie Phelps

Margie Phelps, member of Westboro Baptist Church and attorney who, in her first appearance before the United States Supreme Court, successfully argued Snyder v. Phelps reversing a federal district court’s imposition of an $11 million verdict against Westboro Baptist Church for protesting near the memorial service of an American serviceman.

Paul Crane

Paul Crane, Assistant Professor of Law University of Richmond School of Law. Crane previously clerked for Chief Justice Roberts and Judge Harvie Wilkinson of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. He has written and spoken on the issue of threats as an unprotected category of speech. Prior to clerking on the US Supreme Court, he served as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General and as an assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia.

Tony Mauro

Tony Mauro is an American journalist and author who has covered the United States Supreme Court since 1979 and has done so most recently for The National Law Journal and other ALM publications. Mauro began covering the Supreme Court for Gannett News Service and USA Today. He joined Legal Times in 2000. Since Legal Times merged with The National Law Journal in 2009, he has continued as the publication’s Supreme Court correspondent. He is the author of several books about the Supreme Court, including “Illustrated Great Decisions of the Supreme Court” (2006) and “Landmark Cases: 12 Historic Supreme Court Decisions” (2015). In 2001 and 2005, Washingtonian magazine listed Mauro among the Top 50 journalists in Washington, D.C.

David Sobel

David Sobel, Sr. Counsel with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). EFF is one of the leading organizations defending civil liberties in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development. David directs the FOIA Litigation for Accountable Government (FLAG) Project. He has handled numerous cases seeking the disclosure of government documents on privacy policy, including electronic surveillance, encryption controls and airline passenger screening initiatives. He served as co-counsel in the challenge to government secrecy concerning post-September 11 detentions and participated in the submission of a civil liberties amicus brief in the first-ever proceeding of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review.

Casey Mattox

Casey Mattox is a senior fellow on toleration and free speech at the Charles Koch Institute. Previously, Casey was with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), where he served as senior counsel and director of the Center for Academic Freedom. Casey joined ADF in 2009, litigating cases to protect the First Amendment rights of students and faculty at public colleges and universities across the nation. There he led a team of attorneys that is one of the most active groups of litigators defending First Amendment rights on public university campuses.  Casey has testified three times before House committees on a variety of First Amendment and constitutional issues.

Clay Calvert

Clay Calvert is the Brechner Eminent Scholar in Mass Communication and Director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project at the University of Florida. As director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project, Calvert has filed, as counsel of record, multiple friend-of-the-court briefs with the United States Supreme Court in cases such as Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, Elonis v. United States, and Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association.

Jennifer Nelson

Jennifer Nelson, staff attorney with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Prior to joining the Reporters Committee, Nelson was an associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, where she focused on complex litigation and congressional investigations.  Before law school, Nelson was an editorial assistant and freelance reporter at The Boston Globe, where she covered breaking news for the City & Region section.

Brynne Madway

Brynne Madway, Associate Attorney for The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (“FIRE”). Brynne came to FIRE from the Philadelphia offices of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, where she worked as a litigation associate. In her role as part of FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, Brynne helps to bring legal challenges to unconstitutional speech codes at colleges and universities throughout the country.

Brad Smith

Brad Smith is the Josiah H. Blackmore II/Shirley M. Nault Professor at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio. He previously served as Commissioner, Vice Chairman, and Chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) between 2000 and 2005. Smith is also the founder and Chairman of the Institute for Free Speech, the nation’s largest organization dedicated solely to protecting First Amendment political speech rights.

Gene Policinski

Gene Policinski is chief operating officer of the Freedom Forum Institute and of the Religious Freedom Institute’s First Amendment Center. A veteran multimedia journalist, he also writes, lectures, and is interviewed regularly on First Amendment issues. Policinski, a founding editor of USA Today, oversees all programs of the Freedom Forum Institute and also is a longtime proponent of diversity in journalism as an essential characteristic of a free press. He speaks and writes regularly on news gathering and reporting, newsroom diversity, and on journalism ethics. He is a contributor to the recent American Bar Association book, “Whistleblowers, Leaks and the First Amendment,” providing a section on First Amendment issues and a free press.

Chris Bliss

Chris Bliss, founder of, a group dedicated to building sight-specific monuments to the Bill of Rights in the capitals of each of the 50 states. The first monument was built in Phoenix, Arizona and plans are currently underway for monuments in Oklahoma and Texas. Bliss is a professional comedian who has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with David Letterman, and was the opening act for Michael Jackson’s Victory Tour.

John Whitehead

John Whitehead, founder and President of The Rutherford Institute, an organization that provides legal services in the defense of civil liberties and to educate the public on important issues affecting their constitutional freedoms. A prolific author, his law review articles have been published in Emory Law Journal, Pepperdine Law Review, Harvard Journal on Legislation, Washington and Lee Law Review, Cumberland Law Review, Tulsa Law Journal and the Temple University Civil Rights Law Review. He is a frequent commentator on a variety of legal and cultural issues in the national media and writes a weekly opinion column, which is distributed nationwide. He has authored more than 30 books on various legal and social issues. His most recent books include the best-selling Battlefield America: The War on the American People and the award-winning A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State. In addition, he wrote and directed the documentary video series Grasping for the Wind, as well as its companion book, which focus on key cultural events of the 20th Century. The series received two Silver World Medals at the New York Film and Video Festival.