February 17, 2022

On the evening of Wednesday, February 16, 2022, Catholic Law—in collaboration with The Free State Foundation and Catholic Law’s chapters of the American Constitution Society, the Federalist Society, and the Law and Technology Student Association—hosted its inaugural program in The Seigenthaler Debates, an annual series of events that is part of Catholic Law's First Amendment Initiatives

The virtual program provided attendees with an opportunity to hear from two First Amendment scholars on the topic - Resolved: “Internet Platforms Should Be Treated Like Common Carriers” (as suggested by Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in Biden v. Knight First Amendment Institute). Professor Eugene Volokh of UCLA School of Law argued the pro position, and Professor Ash Bhagwat of UC Davis Law School argued the con position. Judge Lawrence VanDyke of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit acted as the program’s moderator.

After a warm welcome from Professor A.G. Harmon, Faculty Director of Bench and Bar Programs, Professor Marshall Breger introduced the debaters and moderator. Over the course of ninety minutes, Volokh and Bhagwat laid out their arguments regarding the treatment of social media platforms as common carriers and then used their position to respond to questions posed by Judge VanDyke. There was also an opportunity for the audience to submit questions through the moderator. As the program drew to a close, both debaters were given time for final remarks. Following the debate, Harmon offered thanks to each of the debaters, the moderator, and the audience for their time.

Below is a recording of the February 16, 2022, program.