First Amendment & The Constitution, Summer Workshops 2024

This Workshop has been made possible with the generous support of the F.M. Kirby Foundation.

Join us for an exciting, two-day workshop on the Constitution and the First Amendment, designed exclusively for teachers.

The series will begin with an historical review and a conceptual discussion of the founding of the United States, with an emphasis on important founding documents. The series will then move to a study of the issues raised by the incorporation of the First Amendment into the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause, thus allowing it to be used by the Court to oversee the actions of the states. Finally, it will examine specific issues that emerge out of the First Amendment as seen in major Supreme Court decisions.

The workshop will include:

  • Dynamic content sessions with renowned constitutional and legal scholars.
  • Critical skill development and tools to apply teachings immediately in your classes.
  • Valuable reference materials and tools, including a list of books, casebook, and suggested lesson plans and activities to enhance your teaching.

NB: There will be two sessions. One at Lafayette College and the other at Reading Community College. Check the Essential Information and make sure you select the correct location when registering.

Essential Information

Location: Lafayette College – Kirby Hall
Date: July 18-19, 2024

Location: Reading Community College
Date: July 24-25, 2024

Application Deadline: May 30, 2024
Notification Deadline:
June 5, 2024
Eligibility: K-12 teachers

Note: This workshop is free to all K-12 teachers in public, parochial, and Charter schools.

Act 48 credit is available upon successful completion of the workshop.

Summer Teachers’ Workshop 2024

Constitution and the First Amendment Workshop



8:30 AM


9:00 AM

Session One


Dr. Bruce Murphy

  • Historical Overview of the Constitutional Founders’ First Amendment: Prior Restraint Versus Subsequent Punishment
  • Recreating the First Amendment Using the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause
  • Levels of Scrutiny Theory and the Chaplinsky Speech versus Conduct Test
  • Clear and Present Danger and Protecting Political Speech
  • Regulating and Protecting Symbolic Speech
  • Exceptions to Free Speech: Hate Speech Versus “Actual Threats”
  • Freedom of Assembly and Protests: the #BlackLivesMatter and the Incidents of January 6th, 2021

10:15 AM


10:30 AM

Session Two


Dr. Keith Whittington / Erwin Chemerinsky

  • First Amendment Originalism vs the “Living, Evolving” Constitution
  • Analyzing the First Amendment on college and high school campuses
  • The Tinker case and its judicial progeny
  • The impact of the 2021 Cheerleader social media case

12:00 PM


12:45 PM

Session Three


Dr. F. Graham Lee

  • From the Reynolds case to Sherbert v. Verner to the Amish school case
  • The establishment of religion and the rise and fall of the Lemon test
  • The Future of the Lemon test after the Trump appointments

2:00 PM

Session Four


Sally Flaherty

Scholars in a lecture hall with presenter at the main screen


8:30 AM


9:00 AM

Session One

THE 21st CENTURY “Digital First Amendment” AND THE ROBERTS COURT

Dr. Bruce Murphy

  • Protecting the Digital Free Marketplace of Ideas and Section 230 of the Federal Communications ACT
  • Protecting the Digital Free Marketplace of Ideas
  • Hate Speech or Actual Threats on the Internet: From Elonis to Countryman
  • A public or private speech? Government officials and the social media
  • Safeguarding National Security and Social Media (The 2023 Twitter v. Taamneh & Gonzales v Google cases)
  • Regulating Falsity on the Internet: The Roberts Courts Five Social Media Decision in 2024

    10:15 AM


    10:30 AM

    Session Two


    Participants will participate in a moot Supreme Court based on a current first amendment case modeling an exercise they can do with their students. Attorneys and judges will assist in the exercise providing valuable insight into the case and case law.

    1:00 PM


    2:45 PM




    Unfortunately, registration has closed for this event. Please reach out to Beth Specker if you have questions.

    Faculty and Team

    Bruce Allen Murphy

    Bruce Allen Murphy
    Co-Program Director

    Bruce Allen Murphy is a judicial biographer and scholar of American constitutional law and politics. He is the Fred Morgan Kirby Professor of Civil Rights at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, a position he has held since 1998. Prior to that appointment, he was a professor of Political Science and a professor of American History and Politics at Pennsylvania State University. In 1978, Murphy received his Ph.D. in Government and Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia, where he studied with Professors Henry J. Abraham and Robert J. Harris. Murphy is the author of four judicial biographies, the co-author of a textbook, and the editor of a reader. Professor Murphy’s books include The Brandeis/Frankfurter Connection: The Secret Political Activities of Two Supreme Court Justices (Oxford University Press, 1982), Fortas: The Rise and Ruin of a Supreme Court Justice (William Morrow & Co., 1988), Wild Bill: The Legend and Life of William O. Douglas (Random House, 2003), and his latest book, Scalia: A Court of One (Simon & Schuster, 2014). In addition to his judicial biographies, Murphy is the co-author (with Larry Berman) of an American government textbook, Approaching Democracy (Pearson Education). Throughout his academic career, Professor Murphy has taught political science, history, and constitutional law courses, including: American Constitutional Law, Liberty in the United States, The First Amendment, Introduction to U.S. Politics, The American Presidency, and seminars on judicial biography.  Professor Murphy has extensive experience running teacher institutes having served as the Institute Director for The Rendell Center’s Summer Teacher Institutes in 2016 and 2017, as well as participating in the Freedoms Foundations Teacher Institutes for the past 30 years.

    Graham Lee

    Graham Lee

    Graham Lee is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Saint Joseph’s University. A native of Boston, he was educated at the Boston Latin School, received a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. During his 45-year career at Saint Joseph’s University, Professor Lee has served as President of the Faculty Senate, Dean of the University College, and Director of Graduate Programs. His academic expertise centers on the U.S. Supreme Court, with particular interest in church/state issues. Professor Lee has authored three books on that topic, as well as books on the Burger Court, equal protection, and Chief Justice William Howard Taft.

    Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of Berkeley Law and Jesse H. Chopper Distinguished Professor of Law

    Erwin Chemerinsky

    Erwin Chemerinsky became the 13th Dean of Berkeley Law on July 1, 2017, when he joined the faculty as the Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law. Prior to assuming this position, from 2008-2017, he was the founding Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law, at University of California, Irvine School of Law.  Before that he was the Alston and Bird Professor of Law and Political Science at Duke University from 2004-2008, and from 1983-2004 was a professor at the University of Southern California Law School, including as the Sydney M. Irmas Professor of Public Interest Law, Legal Ethics, and Political Science. From 1980-1983, he was an assistant professor at DePaul College of Law. He is the author of fourteen books, including leading casebooks and treatises about constitutional law, criminal procedure, and federal jurisdiction.  His most recent books are Presumed Guilty:  How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights (Norton 2021), and The Religion Clauses:  The Case for Separating Church and State (with Howard Gillman) (Oxford University Press 2020).In 2016, he was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  In 2017, National Jurist magazine again named Dean Chemerinsky as the most influential person in legal education in the United States.  In January 2021, he was named President-elect of the Association of American Law Schools. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law.
    Keith Whittington

    Keith Whittington

    Keith Whittington (invited) is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University, and the current director of graduate studies in the Department of Politics. He has published widely on American constitutional theory and development, federalism, judicial politics, and the presidency. Whittington is the author of Constitutional Construction: Divided Powers and Constitutional Meaning, and Constitutional Interpretation: Textual Meaning, Original Intent, and Judicial Review, and Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy: The Presidency, the Supreme Court, and Constitutional Leadership in U.S. History (which won the C. Herman Pritchett Award for best book in law and courts and the J. David Greenstone Award for best book in politics and history). Whittington is editor (with Gerald Leonard) of the New Essays on American Constitutional History and editor (with Maeva Marcus, Melvin Urofsky, and Mark Tushnet) of the Cambridge Studies on the American Constitution.

    Beth Specker

    Beth Specker
    Program Administrator

    Beth Specker is the founding Executive Director of The Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement, where she has worked closely with Judge Marjorie Rendell and former Governor Edward Rendell to establish the organization. In this role, she also serves as chief administrator for The Rendell Center’s Summer Teacher Institutes, overseeing all aspects of the events from program development, to marketing and logistics, as well as financial planning. Ms. Specker was Chief of Staff to First Lady of Pennsylvania, Judge Marjorie Rendell. In that role, she was responsible for oversight of Judge Rendell’s initiative to restore the civic mission of schools, which required her to work with K-12 schools throughout the Commonwealth as well as national organizations such as iCivics, the American Bar Association and the Civic Mission of Schools.  Ms. Specker began her career in civics education at the Freedoms Foundation, a national, non-profit organization providing a wide range of educational and awards programs for students, teachers and citizens. During her 19 years at there, Ms. Specker oversaw all aspects of running 48 educational conferences each year, including graduate programs for teachers and programs for international students. Ms. Specker holds a bachelor’s degree from Villanova University and a master’s degree in Non-Profit Management from Eastern University.

    Contact Us

    If you have questions, please reach out to us.

    Contact information is below, or click the Email Us button.