“Congress Shall Make No Law . . . ”


Floyd Abrams

In the Age of Trump, when facts are characterized by the president as “fake news” and those who report them are labeled “enemies of the American people,” we are fortunate to have as our first speaker of the 2017-2018 lunch season one of the nation’s most ardent defenders of the First Amendment.

Floyd Abrams, whose name has become synonymous with the terms “constitutional law” and “freedom of the press,” will be our guest on Wednesday, Sept. 20. He is expected to tell why he believes Donald J. Trump “is engaged in a serious — and deliberately serious — threat to the legitimacy of the press and the role it plays in American society.”

Abrams, of course, is no stranger to fighting off assaults on the press. As a 35-year-old lawyer, he represented The New York Times in 1971, when the Nixon administration was attempting to block publication of the Pentagon Papers. That put Abrams on the map and, as the Columbia Journalism Review put it, he “went on to become America’s leading First Amendment litigator.” During his career, his clients have included such news outlets as ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Time magazine, Business Week, The Nation, Hearst, McGraw Hill and Standard & Poor’s. He has not allowed political ideology to influence his stand on the First Amendment. To the displeasure of many on the left, he successfully represented Citizens United before the U.S. Supreme Court, defending the constitutional rights of a conservative nonprofit corporation to spend more freely in federal election campaigns, and he has said that conservative groups on college campuses have been “major victims” of suppression of free speech, citing a 2012 incident when Ann Coulter, who had been invited to speak by Fordham University’s Republican Club, was banned from doing so by school authorities.

His new book, “Soul of the First Amendment: Why Free Speech Matters,” has been described by Alan Dershowitz as a response to those who would curtail the right of free speech “in the false names of security, sensitivity and political correctness.”

Please make your reservations now for what promises to be an important and most timely event.

The date:   Wednesday, Sept. 20
The time:   Noon
The place: The National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South

IMPORTANT CHANGE: The procedure for making lunch reservations has recently changed, but please note that reservations are still required.

You can no longer reserve by emailing David Andelman.

You may now reserve via Eventbrite by linking to:

When you reach that site, click on the word “TICKETS” and follow the directions.

Be aware that you may continue to reserve by calling the Silurian reservation line at 212-532-0887. Lunch prices remain at $50 for members, $55 for guests, payable at the door by cash (exact change, please), check or credit card. And if you’re bringing a guest, make sure to give us your guest’s name. Each member is allowed to reserve for one guest, with additional guests put on a waiting list, pending a final count.

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