Press Releases

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Sep 24, 2012

Panelists named; time changed to include presidential debate watch party

NASHVILLE, Sept. 25, 2012 -- A public forum on the tensions between free speech and civility will take place in Nashville on Oct. 16. The event, sponsored by the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA), the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University and Lipscomb University, will take place in Lipscomb's Ezell Center from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served and free parking is available in front of the Ezell Center as well as in the P2 garage (view parking map). Following the program, attendees are invited to stay and watch the second presidential debate scheduled for that night beginning at 8 p.m. Central. 

(Please note that the forum will start one hour earlier than originally announced so that attendees may watch the presidential debate as part of the program.)

In announcing the forum, TBA President Jacqueline B. Dixon said, "We cannot preserve our democracy without finding the right balance between free speech and civility. The TBA is pleased to be a part of such an important project."
The forum, the second in a series of events across the state, will focus on civility in interacting with the courts. General issues to be addressed include why civility matters and what to do when the values of civility and free speech clash. Specific issues to be examined at this hearing include how to handle claims of bias among court appointees; whether courts should respond to attacks on their legitimacy; and what role the media plays or should play with regard to civility towards the courts. A panel of three experts will discuss these issues and take questions from the audience. Panelists include:
Retired Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court
Former Editor of The Tennessean 
Academic Director, Institute for Conflict Management and Adjunct Professor at Lipscomb University
Memphis lawyer and former TBA President Bill Haltom will moderate the discussion. A lawyer with Thomason, Hendrix, Harvey, Johnson & Mitchell PLLC, Haltom currently is writing a book on civility and politics using former U.S. Senator and Ambassador to Japan Howard H. Baker Jr. as the exemplar.
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 Dialogue, funded 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.
Nashville program partners include the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University and Lipscomb University Institute for Law, Justice & Society. Partners in other cities include the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law; Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee; and the University of Tennessee College of Law. Learn more about these organizations

Event Details:

Nashville, Oct. 16, 2012
6-7:30 p.m. Civility Program
8-9:30 p.m. Presidential Debate
Lipscomb University
Ezell Center

Access biographical information and photos for each of the Nashville panelists

See photos from the Nashville event

TBA Civility Initiative:

Learn more about the TBA's civility initative and events in other cities