TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Feb 4, 2013

Program to feature 3 Tennessee governors discussing civility, effective governance

Three of Tennessee's governors -- current Governor Bill Haslam and former governors Phil Bredesen and Don Sundquist -- will headline a public forum on the issue of civility and effective governance Feb. 21 in Knoxville.

The event, sponsored by the Tennessee Bar Association, the University of Tennessee Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and College of Law, and the First Amendment Center, will take place in the Toyota Auditorium of the Baker Center from 5:30 to 7 p.m. It is the final of three forums held across the state examining issues of free speech and civility. The forums are made possible by a grant from the American Bar Association Division for Public Education and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Knoxville event will focus on how society's competing desires for civility and free expression play out in the political and public policy arena, including on the campaign trail, during candidate debates and within legislative bodies. The panelists will use the life of Sen. Howard H. Baker Jr. -- Tennessee's first popularly elected Republican senator -- to demonstrate how civility enhances effectiveness in the political sphere.

Memphis lawyer Bill Haltom with Thomason, Hendrix, Harvey, Johnson & Mitchell PLLC will moderate the discussion. He currently is writing a book on civility and politics using former Sen. Baker as the exemplar.

In announcing the Knoxville forum, TBA President Jacqueline B. Dixon said, "The TBA is pleased to be a part of such an important project. We cannot preserve our democracy without finding the right balance between free speech and civility."

The Balancing Civility and Free Expression Initiative is designed to encourage a public conversation about the tensions between civility and free speech, the state of our public square and the challenges of maintaining civil discourse in a democracy. The program is part of Civility and Free Expression in a Constitutional Democracy — A National Dialoguefunded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and conducted in partnership with the American Bar Association Division for Public Education.  Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Bar Association, the Tennessee Bar Association or any of their program partners.

Knoxville program partners include the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, the University of Tennessee College of Law and the First Amendment Center. Learn more about these organizations below.

ABA Division for Public Education
American Bar Association
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association (ABA) is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. The mission of its Division for Public Education is to educate the public about law and its role in society. Learn more about the ABA Division for Public Education's Free Expression in a Constitutional Democracy program.
National Endowment for the Humanities

National Endowment for the Humanities 
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Civility and Free Expression in a Constitutional Democracy -- A National Dialogue is funded by the NEH under the Bridging Cultures Initiative.

TBA logo

Tennessee Bar Association
The Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) is the largest professional association in Tennessee with more than 11,000 members. Founded in 1881, the TBA provides opportunities for continuing legal education, professional development and public service. The TBA's dedication to serving the state's legal community is evidenced by its membership roll, which represents the entire spectrum of legal practice: plaintiff and defense lawyers, corporate counsel, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, government lawyers and legal services attorneys.

University of Tennessee
Howard H. Baker Center for Public Policy

The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy is a nonpartisan institute devoted to education and research concerning public policy and civic engagement. Through classes, public lectures, research, and student initiatives, the center aims to provide policy makers, citizens, scholars, and students with the information and skills necessary to work effectively within our  political system and to serve our local, state, national, and global communities.

University of Tennessee College of Law
The University of Tennessee College of Law, located in Knoxville, enjoys a rich tradition of providing sound legal education. Founded in 1890, the college prepares tomorrow's lawyers through clinical and skills training, innovative classroom teaching, legal writing and professional values. The college has the longest continuously operating legal clinic in the country. The UT College of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools. Its clinical training program is ranked 11th nationally and its legal writing program is ranked eighth among public universities by U.S. News and World Report.

The First Amendment Center
The First Amendment Center supports the First Amendment and build understanding of its core freedoms through education, information and entertainment. The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of free-expression issues, including freedom of speech, of the press and of religion, and the rights to assemble and to petition the government. Founded by John Seigenthaler, the First Amendment Center is an operating program of the Freedom Forum and is associated with the Newseum and the Diversity Institute. The center has offices in the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The center's programs, including the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum, provide education and information to the public and groups including First Amendment scholars and experts, educators, government policy makers, legal experts and students. The center is nonpartisan and does not lobby, litigate or provide legal advice. The center's website is one of the most authoritative sources of news, information and commentary in the nation on First Amendment issues. It features daily updates on news about First Amendment-related developments, as well as detailed reports about U.S. Supreme Court cases involving the First Amendment, and commentary, analysis and special reports on free expression, press freedom and religious-liberty issues.

Program Participants:

Gov. Bill Haslam

Former Gov. Phil Bredesen

Former Gov. Don Sundquist

Bill Haltom

Moderator Bill Haltom

Additional Information:

Programs in the “Balancing Civility and Free Expression” Series include:

Memphis, Sept. 18, 7-8:30 p.m.
University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
Wade Auditorium
Read the TBA's press release
See photos from the event

Nashville, Oct. 16, 6-7:30 p.m.
Lipscomb University
Ezell Center
Read the TBA's press release
See photos from the event

Knoxville, Feb. 21, 5:30-7 p.m.
University of Tennessee
Howard H. Baker Jr. Center
Toyota Auditorium
Read the TBA's press release
Download a flyer about the event
See photos from the event

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