Free speech gets a week

October 20, 2009
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Most Americans should know they have the freedom of speech, thanks to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but they may not know there’s a week commemorating the right.


This week marks the annual National Freedom of Speech Week, always celebrated during the third week in October. It was created by the Media Institute, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C. Based on the NFSW Web site, http://www.nfsw.org, it appears the Media Institute wants to keep reminding the public of their right to free speech and why it’s important we have that freedom. It encourages people to write a poem, keep a journal, or speak out at a rally.


Even the American Bar Association is promoting the week by creating a page on their Web site dedicated to the event. It has a mini-quiz with legal questions relating to the First Amendment.


We probably take for granted our freedom of speech in America because we can pretty much say whatever we want (with some restrictions, of course). We know we have the freedom of speech, but the general public probably doesn’t realize what that exactly means and what the limitations on it are.


There are various special days or weeks that recognize our rights as Americans, such as NFSW and Constitution Day. Do you think these are effective in educating the public on their rights found in the Constitution?

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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