FIRE Legal Intern James Martin, Jr. Reflects on Summer Defending Liberties on Campus
September 5, 2006
by Emily Guidry
My legal internship at FIRE was a wonderful experience, and it was such an honor to partner with a team of people who are solely committed to protecting the rights of others. Both my knowledge of and appreciation for the First Amendment were dramatically increased as a result of my summer projects and assignments. However, FIRE still has much work to do in educating others in the legal profession. This became clear to me when I proposed an article topic for my school’s law journal. The proposed topic, which I formulated in conjunction with the FIRE staff, sought to explore whether it is constitutional for public universities to evaluate students’ beliefs using vague and politically-charged “dispositions” criteria. To my disbelief, the editor responded that because college is voluntary, he did not really think the Constitution was applicable! Fortunately, the Supreme Court says otherwise, and so I look forward to adding to the growing legal literature which recognizes that students truly do not shed their rights at the schoolhouse gate.