Corporations and the First Amendment

Nationally noted First Amendment scholars, attorneys, policymakers and activists will explore how corporations, corporate law and First Amendment jurisprudence influence an active democracy at a seminar at Seattle University School of Law Friday, October 20.

Sessions throughout the day will help attendees understand how corporate law and structure intersect with the First Amendment jurisprudence that governs fundamental aspects of democracy – including access to information and a functioning political process – in order to assess the health of civil society and to develop strategies to protect it. The conference is hosted by the Center on Corporations, Law & Society at Seattle University School of Law in collaboration with noted First Amendment Scholar and SU Professor of Law David Skover and with the assistance of Seattle University Law Review.

Among the topics on the agenda are:

  • Should Corporations Have First Amendment Rights?
  • Corporations & Commercial Speech
  • Corporations & Political Speech: Should Speech Equal Money?
  • The Corporatization of Communication

Mark Crispin Miller, professor of culture and communication at New York University Steinhardt School of Education and the author of “Fooled Again” and “Boxed In: The Culture of TV,” will be the keynote speaker.

Other participants include Solange E. Bitol-Hansen, national programs director for Public Campaign; Jeffrey Chester, executive director, Center for Digital Democracy; Ron Collins, scholar, First Amendment Center; Robert Corn-Revere, partner, Davis Wright Tremaine, Washington, D.C.; Charlie Cray, director of the Center for Corporate Policy; Eric Chiappinelli, professor and Associate Dean for Alumni and Professional Relations, SU School of Law; Lisa Danetz, staff attorney, National Voting Rights Institute; Bruce Freed, co-director of the Center for Political Accountability; Dana Gold, director, Center on Corporations, Law & Society, SU School of Law;. Daniel Greenwood, professor, Quinney College of Law, University of Utah; Tamara Piety, professor, University of Tulsa College of Law; Lawrence Soley, professor of communication and journalism, Marquette University; Scott Thomas, former chairman, Federal Election Commission; David Vladeck, professor, Georgetown University School of Law; and Adam Winkler, professor of law, University of California Los Angeles.

The seminar runs from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in Room C5 of Seattle University School of Law. Registration is $225; $200 for SU Law Alumni; $125 for public interest/nonprofit; and $100 for the general public.

For more information or to register, visit Corporations, Law & Society. Reporters and editors interested in interviewing speakers or attending all or part of the session should contact Katherine Hedland Hansen at (206) 398.4108 or

Christopher Wong, John Cummings, Fernanda Parra
Class of 2008