On November 8, 2012, at the Luxe Hotel Sunset in Los Angeles, California, Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors presented Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and Professor Eugene Volokh, UCLA Professor of Law and founder and coauthor of The Volokh Conspiracy (www.volokh.com) who discussed threats to our First Amendment through attempts to limit freedom of speech and expression, hate speech, censorship and blasphemy. This was a rare opportunity to gain insight and clarity with such distinguished speakers into one of the most controversial subjects of our day.
There is no other nation in the world with the First Amendment. It mandates our freedoms of speech, worship, press, assembly and petition. There are forces that are attacking the First Amendment, however, in ways both obvious and subtle.
Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of democratic rights and freedoms and is essential in enabling democracy to work and public participation in decision-making. Citizens cannot exercise their right to vote effectively or take part in public decision-making if they do not have free access to information and ideas and are not able to express their views freely. Freedom of expression is thus not only important for individual dignity but also to participation, accountability and democracy. Violations of freedom of expression often go hand in hand with other violations, in particular the right to freedom of association and assembly.
A short background on our speakers:
Judge Alex Kozinski was appointed chief judge at the newly formed United States Court of Federal Claims in 1982. In 1985, at the age of 35, Kozinski was appointed to a new seat at the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by President Reagan, making him the youngest federal appeals court judge at that time and became Chief Judge on November 30, 2007. He graduated from UCLA, receiving an A.B. degree in 1972, and from UCLA Law School, receiving a J.D. degree in 1975.
Judge Kozinski is the son of two Holocaust survivors from Romania. Sabine, his mother, spent the war in a Romanian ghetto; Moses, his father, was held for four years in the Trans-nis-tria concentration camp with about 150,000 other Jews. In 1962, when he was 12, his parents brought him to the United States. The family settled in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, where his father, Moses, ran a small grocery store.
Judge Kozinski is married to Marcy Jane Tiffany and has three children: Yale, Wyatt and Clayton, two grandsons: Quinn and Owen, and a new granddaughter recently born.
Eugene Volokh teaches free speech law, criminal law, tort law, religious freedom law, and church-state relations law at UCLA School of Law, where he has also often taught copyright law and a seminar on firearms regulation policy. Before coming to UCLA, he clerked for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court and for Judge Alex Kozinski on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Professor Volokh is the author of several legal textbooks as well as over 70 law review articles and over 80 op-eds. He is a member of The American Law Institute, a member of the American Heritage Dictionary Usage Panel, and the founder and coauthor of The Volokh Conspiracy, a Weblog that gets about 20,000 visits per weekday.
He graduated from UCLA with a B.S. in math-computer science at age 15, and has written many articles on computer software. Volokh was born in the USSR; his family emigrated to the U.S. when he was seven years old.