The 2024 Seigenthaler Debate

 February 27, 2024
6:00 p.m. (EST)


Use the button below to join the webinar at 6:00 p.m. on February 27.

Passcode: 607317

Topic: "Resolved: Restrictions on public funding of scientific research that are based on consensus/orthodox definitions of 'science' are unconstitutional conditions."

One of the unanticipated outcomes of the 2020 COVID Pandemic was a renewed focus on the role that freedom of speech plays in science and scientific inquiry. Among the questions highlighted are: "Who speaks for science?" "What is consensus?" and "What is a scientific opinion?" The controversy over statements about the effectiveness of societal lockdowns between The World Health Organization and the signatories of The Great Barrington Declaration is but one example of the importance of these questions. The participants will explore the First Amendment issues that arise when government funding of scientific inquiry imposes conditions on that funding intended to maintain control over scientific debate by requiring that findings conform to a “consensus” understanding of “the science.”

Format: The program consists of a welcome by Professor A.G. Harmon, introductions by Professor Robert Destro, the debate, and an opportunity for the audience to submit questions through the moderator. 

This is a Virtual Event. The event login information and passcode will be emailed to you on the day of the event.

Pro Position


Jenin Younes of the New Civil Liberties Alliance: 

At NCLA, Jenin has litigated against Covid-19 vaccine mandates, and played a significant role in First Amendment challenges to the government’s involvement in censorship on social media, including in Missouri v. Biden, a case initially brought by the Attorneys General of Missouri and Louisiana in which NCLA represents two of the co-signers of the Great Barrington Declaration, Drs. Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff. She led NCLA’s successful effort to preliminary enjoin California’s law punishing doctors for disseminating so-called misinformation about Covid-19 to patients. Jenin also served as senior special counsel on the House Judiciary Committee’s Weaponization of Government Subcommittee’s investigation into the government’s role in censoring speech on social media.

Con Position


Robert Charrow, former General Counsel of HHS

Currently a shareholder at the law firm of Greenberg Traurig, he was nominated by President Donald Trump to be the General Counsel of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. He was confirmed on December 21, 2017. He previously worked for the law firm of Crowell & Moring. In the Ronald Reagan administration, Charrow served as Deputy and then Principal Deputy General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In those roles, he supervised the chief counsel for the Health Care Financing Administration, Office of Inspector General, the Food and Drug Administration, and the United States Public Health Service.


Judge Justin Walker of the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit

Judge Walker was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals in September 2020. A graduate of Duke University and Harvard Law School, he clerked for then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Justice Anthony Kennedy. In 2019, he was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. Prior to that, he practiced at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher (D.C.) and Dinsmore & Shohl (Louisville). He has taught law in several states and foreign countries.