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Sessions: Trump 'Has Free Speech Rights too'

29 September 2017

Phillips said the uninvited students "find it extraordinarily hypocritical that AG Sessions would lecture future attorneys about the importance of free speech on campus while actively excluding the wider student body". Photographs of the speech itself showed many, many empty seats through the auditorium because a lot of people who were not necessarily Jeff Sessions's fans, had been dis-invited from attending the speech in addition to the protesters.

"I would condemn their actions", Sessions said of the protesting athletes. "The American university was once the center of academic freedom - a place of robust debate".

The Attorney General noted that "protecting free speech doesn't mean condoning we saw in Charlottesville". On Wednesday, he went on Fox News and said he believes the National Football League should restrict players' freedom of thought and speech.

SESSIONS: Absolutely not. The President of the United States has free speech. More US adults surveyed by Gallup last year thought that Americans' ability to exercise their free speech rights is weaker today than 20 years ago (40%), than those who thought it was stronger (31%). On Monday, 31 Georgetown professors released an open letter to Sessions, decrying the "hypocrisy" of an official defending free speech while supporting an administration that, in their view, generally did not.

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In February, on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, black-clad agitators smashed windows and hurled Molotov cocktails ahead of a planned appearance by far-right controversialist Milo Yiannopoulos.

Sessions's own campus visit Tuesday was in a controlled environment. Sessions said. "The university is about the search for truth, not the imposition of truth by a government censor".

Sessions argued it was his duty as attorney general to defend first amendment rights. They will say that some speech is hurtful - even hateful.

"Georgetown's Speech and Expression Policy provides our faculty, staff and students broad latitude to invite speakers", Weinberg said. But, so, I think they have all the rights every American does to speak out. Well, today Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a plan to intervene. They placed tape across their mouths and sat down.

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Sessions spoke specifically about a public college in Battle Creek, Michigan, where he said a state official had students jailed for handing out copies of the United States Constitution previous year.

The event was hosted by a center at the school, and they handled the invitations, according to a law school spokeswoman. "And I would condemn their actions - not them as human beings - but there are many ways for these players, with all the assets they have, to express their political views other than in effect denigrating the symbols of our nation".

"We pay a ton of tuition", she said. "Our records indicate that you were not part of the Center [for the Constitution]'s student invitation list, which includes student fellows of the Center (students who signed up to attend events sponsored by the Center) and students enrolled in the classes taught this semester by the Center's Director, Professor Randy Barnett".

But there were students who welcomed Sessions' comments.

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He derided student codes of conduct related to speech that he said "substantially infringe on constitutionally protected speech". Thirty-three percent of public institutions have some sort of speech codes that constrict freedom of speech as I think most people would define it under the First Amendment.

Sessions: Trump 'Has Free Speech Rights too'