Mary Anne Franks to deliver Constitution Day Address at Washington and Lee

washington and leeMary Anne Franks, professor of law and Dean’s Distinguished Scholar at the University of Miami School of Law, will deliver this year’s Constitution Day address at Washington and Lee University on Sept. 17 at 5:30 p.m.

The title of her talk is “The Cult of the Constitution.”

The lecture, which will be presented in a virtual format, is free and open to the public. Registration information can be found at go.wlu.edu/global.

Franks, who teaches courses on criminal law, criminal procedure, First and Second Amendment law, family law, and law and technology, is an internationally known expert on the topic of civil rights and technology. She is the author of an award-winning book, “The Cult of the Constitution: Our Deadly Devotion to Guns and Free Speech” (Stanford Press, 2019, available at the W&L University Store), and is currently working on her second book, “Fearless Speech,” which is due out in 2022.

“It is a tremendous honor to welcome Dr. Franks to campus for Constitution Day,” said Mark Rush, director of the Center for International Education and Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law. “Her work is vitally important as the nation learns to address the impact of technology on the interaction between civil liberties and civil rights. ‘The Cult of the Constitution’ is a masterful, provocative work that will make any reader pause and reconsider the scope and definition of rights. As well, at a time when technology can be used in such a virulent manner to amplify harm caused by speech to the most vulnerable members of society, Franks forces all Americans to confront the need to update the law to address 21st century challenges and realities. No doubt, her Constitution Day talk and visits with faculty and students will be memorable events.”

Franks’ work has appeared in a number of publications, including the Harvard Law Review, the California Law Review and UCLA Law Review, and she has also authored articles for such publications as the New York Times, The Atlantic and the Washington Post. She is also the president and director of legislative and tech policy for the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting online abuse and discrimination. She served as reporter for the Uniform Law Commission’s 2018 Uniform Civil Remedies for the Unauthorized Disclosure of Intimate Images Act and is a principal investigator for a 2020 National Science Foundation grant project, “COVID-19 and sexual cyberviolence: Impact on general users and vulnerable populations.”

Franks, who was a Rhodes Scholar, holds a doctorate and master’s degree from Oxford University and a law degree from Harvard Law School. Her talk at W&L is co-sponsored by the Center for International Education, the Williams School, the Office of the Provost, the Washington and Lee School of Law, and the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics.


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