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News Posted on November 1, 2011

Chief Judge Kozinski Delivers Central Valley Foundation/James B. McClatchy Lecture on First Amendment to Packed House

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit spoke on "The First Amendment in the Age of Information Overload" in the 2nd annual Central Valley Foundation/James B. McClatchy Lecture on the First Amendment.  The event, held on October 27 in King Hall's new Kalmanovitz Appellate Courtroom, drew a large audience of students, faculty, community members, and staff that filled the courtroom and  adjacent overflow rooms.

Cheif Judge KozinskiThe event began with brief welcoming remarks from Dean Kevin R. Johnson, who called Judge Kozinski "one of the intellectual powerhouses of the federal judiciary" and thanked the Central Valley Foundation for sponsoring the First Amendment Lecture series.   David Post '71 of the McClatchy Foundation also spoke, expressing gratitude to the late James B. McClatchy, founder of the Central Valley Foundation and publisher of The McClatchy Company newspapers from 1987 to 2005, and his wife Susan McClatchy, who was present for the event.  Professor Vikram Amar, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Central Valley Foundation Fellow, introduced Judge Kozinski, praising his  "candle power," creativity, and candor.

Judge Kozinski began his lecture by declaring his intention "not to praise the First Amendment, but to bury it," arguing that constitutional limitations on the government's ability to regulate expression have become irrelevant in an era where online technology has made it nearly impossible for government to effectively suppress speech.  He referenced numerous examples in which governments, businesses, and individuals have tried unsuccessfully to prevent the distribution of information online, including the U.S. government's inability to prevent the Wikileaks website from publishing thousands of secret documents regarding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  He suggested that in coming years, First Amendment cases are likely to involve how much more leeway we give the government to limit access to communications technology and require speakers to give up anonymity so there can be accountability that is currently hard to impose.

"With sufficient imagination and ingenuity, it may well be possible to repurpose much of the existing First Amendment jurisprudence to deal with new problems and challenges posed by the information age," Kozinski said, before concluding with a direct address to the many King Hall students present. "You are fortunate in getting a first-rate legal education in one of the finest law schools in the country. You are being taught by some of the leading legal minds in the country. It's up to you to take the precedents of the past and give them new life by applying them to the problems and challenges of tomorrow-and there will be plenty of them.  Do so, and go out and prove me wrong: don't bury the First Amendment.  Go out and praise it."

In addition to presenting the Central Valley Foundation/James B. McClatchy Lecture, Chief Judge Kozinski was the McClatchy Jurist in Residence at King Hall.  During his two-day residence, he taught several classes and participated in small group sessions with faculty and students.

The Central Valley Foundation and UC Davis School of Law have established the Central Valley Foundation/James B. McClatchy Lecture to promote discussion and understanding of First Amendment issues.  Chief Judge Kozinski's lecture was the second in a series of five annual events.

Chief Judge Kozinski Central Valley Foundation/James B. McClatchy Lecture video