Debate: New Media Forums and the First Amendment

Friday, March 19, 4:00 p.m. Vorenberg Classroom, Langdell North

This debate will examine the interplay of the changing media landscape and the First Amendment. Relevant questions and areas for discussion include:

What implications do new media technologies have for First Amendment Law?

What will freedom of speech and freedom of the press come to mean in the technological age?

What have been and will be the effects of Supreme Court cases dealing with these issues?

Should we rethink issues of censorship and freedom in the wake of technological change?


Professor Frederick Schauer is the Frank Stanton Professor of the First Amendment at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Formerly Professor of Law at the University of Michigan, he is the author of The Law of Obscenity (BNA, 1976), Free Speech: A Philosophical Enquiry (Cambridge, 1982), Playing By the Rules (Oxford, 1991), and the recently published Profiles, Probabilities, and Stereotypes (Harvard, 2003). A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Schauer’s most recent article, "The Boundaries of the First Amendment," will be published in the April 2004 issue of the Harvard Law Review.


Bruce A. Taylor joined the Department of Justice on January 26, 2004, as Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. He will work primarily on federal obscenity prosecution issues. From 1989-1994, Bruce was at the Department of Justice as a Special Attorney in the Criminal Division’s National Obscenity Enforcement Unit and then a Senior Trial Attorney in the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section. He has served as an Assistant Attorney General of Arizona in 1989 and was an Assistant Prosecutor and Assistant Director of Law for the City of Cleveland, where he handled 600 obscenity cases and 100 appeals from 1973-78. Since 1973, he has prosecuted nearly 100 state and federal obscenity jury cases, as well as trials on prostitution, RICO, child pornography, and child sexual abuse, has written over 200 appeal and amicus curiae briefs, presented over 50 appellate arguments, and has represented public officials, law enforcement personnel, and citizens in civil lawsuits on civil rights, zoning, Internet pornography, nuisance abatement, injunctions, forfeiture actions, criminal procedure, defamation, and First Amendment challenges to federal, state, and municipal laws. Since 1995, he was President and Chief Counsel of the National Law Center for Children and Families in Fairfax, Virginia, where he assisted prosecutors, police, legislators, and public officials with laws and cases involving obscenity, child pornography, commercial sexual exploitation, protecting minors from Internet pornography, and trafficking in persons.

Shari Steele currently serves as the Executive
Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation--an organization that
seeks to protect civil liberties and educate the public about civil
liberties issues related to technology. Prior to becoming EFF's
Executive Director in 2000, Ms. Steele served as EFF's Legal Director
for eight years. She is also co-founder of, a nonprofit
working to ensure sound technology policy in developing nations. She has
spoken widely on civil liberties law in newly emerging technologies,
including on the CBS Evening News, C-SPAN's Washington Journal, The
Today Show, CNN, the BBC, and National Public Radio. She has spoken
about Internet law as part of the Smithsonian Institution's lecture
series on the Internet, the ABA's TechWorld Conference, the National Law
Journal's annual Computer Law Conference, and the National Forum for
Women Corporate Counsel. A graduate of Widener University School of Law,
Ms. Steele later served as a teaching fellow at Georgetown University
Law Center, where she earned an LL.M. degree in Advocacy. Ms. Steele
also holds a Master of Science degree in Instructional Media from West
Chester University.