Free Speech Advocate Visits Upper School

POSTED BY The Wellington School ON October 25, 2018 IN

Prominent civil liberties scholar and Supreme Court litigator Professor David Goldberger spoke with upper school students about the importance of protecting free speech in our country. Goldberger famously argued in defense of unpopular speech in the National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie case before the Supreme Court in 1977 and won.

The class was finishing a unit on civil liberties, and Goldberger proved the perfect addition the conversation. He gave the students some readings about famous supreme court cases through the years dealing with free speech. His remarks focused on the Skokie case and how free speech related between that case and the events in Charlottesville last year and free speech on college campuses. Students found it very interesting that Goldberger is Jewish and had connections to Holocaust survivors, yet chose to represent the KKK in the Skokie case. “He made a very persuasive argument about the absolute importance of protecting speech in our democracy,” history teacher Erin Cornett ‘96 P ‘32 said.

For senior Katz Kadlic, what resonated the most about Goldberger’s talk was the idea that as a lawyer, there may be times where you’re forced to represent someone who you don’t share the same view with. “Law is all about abiding to what is written in our Constitution,” Kadlic said, “and that is something that must be protected. If these are being infringed upon, then you must defend whoever is receiving the unfair treatment in order to protect our government, even if you don’t agree with their views. I think protecting free speech is essential and that continuing to determine what speech is protected and what is not is important in defining the rights of the people.”

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