Constitution Day Seminar Features First Amendment Expert

First Amendment expert Craig R. Smith, Ph.D., will give the keynote address during the 2016 Constitution Day Seminar at Casper College on Friday, Sept. 16. The daylong come and go event is free and open to the public and will take place in the McMurry Mainstage.

In 1988, Smith founded and was the director for the Center for First Amendment Studies and professor of communication studies, at California State University, Long Beach. He held the director position until this year when he became the director emeritus of the center. He is the author of 16 books and over 60 scholarly articles and book chapters. His most recent book published in 2014, “Confessions of a Presidential Speechwriter,” “provides an true insider view on the role that speech writing and rhetoric plays in the election and political process,” says Gretchen Wheeler Casper College communication department chair and seminar committee member.

Smith’s most recent studies on the First Amendment include “A First Amendment Profile of the Supreme Court,” “Freedom of Expression and Partisan Politics,” “Silencing the Opposition: Government Strategies of Suppression,” and “The Four Freedoms of the First Amendment.” He regularly publishes editorials in such newspapers as the Miami Herald, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. Smith has served as a consultant to CBS News for past Republican and Democratic conventions, election nights, and inaugural coverage. In addition to Smith’s prolific publishing and work with national media, he also served as a full-time speechwriter for President Gerald Ford and Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca, and as a consultant to President George Bush and Governor Pete Wilson as well as others.

The seminar will begin at 9 a.m. with the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner” followed by a welcome and then opening remarks by Erich Frankland, Casper College political science department chair and seminar committee member. “We have a lot of great speakers lined up on topics like modern political campaigning, free speech, expectations for the president, etc.,” he says.

At 9:30 Micah Haynes, founder of APIS Communication Science; James King, Ph.D., University of Wyoming professor of political science; Robert Kubichek, director of ELLA; and Sam Weaver, Casper College political science instructor, will discuss political campaigning. Scarlett Miller and Elaney Elliott, members of the Casper College Debate Team, will debate on “Campaign Finance” at 11 a.m.

Smith’s keynote, “Protecting Our First Freedom: The Evolution of the First Amendment,” will begin at 1 p.m. followed at 2 by a panel discussion on “Expectations for the Modern American President” featuring Jean Garrison, Ph.D., University of Wyoming professor of political science; Tanis Lovercheck-Saunders, Ph.D., Casper College history instructor; Brett Governanti, chair of the Natrona County Democratic Party; and Bonnie Foster, chair of the Natrona County Republican Party and state director of the Trump Presidential Campaign.

Casper College Debate Team members Lucas Davis and Katie Stock will debate on “Political Speech as Free Speech” at 3:30 p.m. followed at 4:30 with Wheeler who will give closing remarks for the seminar.

The 2016 Constitution Day Seminar is sponsored by the Casper College School of Social and Behavioral Science. The McMurry Mainstage is located in the Gertrude Krampert Center for Theatre and Dance on the Casper College campus.

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