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May 29, 2009


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Michael Alexander

I know very little about this, but how is it that a foreign scholar has any free speech rights? I wouldn't begrudge him the opportunity to come and criticize us, that sort of thing is always useful, but I wonder does he have a right to do so? Or just the hope of getting an invitation to do so?

Kathy Bergin

These cases are typicaly asserted by individuals and associations inside the US who are claiming a "right to receive" information from the person denied a non-immigrant visa.

It's often a college or university that's lost the opportunity to have a prominent scholar teach on campus for a period of time.

-Kathleen Bergin

Michael Alexander

Interesting. I didn't know that we had a right to receive information, or that we had a right to receive information inside the US as opposed to having to go outside the country to get it. Other than that, how is it still a free speech case, when the issue is not speech? What is the leading case on this?

Kathy Bergin

Here's the ACLU website on ideological exclusions with links to court documents.


On ideological exclusion and the first amendment, the controlling case is still Kleindienst v. Mandel, 408 U.S. 753 (1972). The arguments made in the current case are very similar to those put forward by Justice Marshall in his dissent. Since the Mandel case (He was a Marxist philosopher refused a visa to come lecture in the US), the court has shown very little interest in readdressing the issue. I'm at least somewhat sympathetic to Marshall's view, at least insofar as the rights of US citizens are implicated I think the government has a duty to at least make a clear showing of justification, one that's not been met here and probably can't be met. (I address some arguments along this line of thought, though on a completely different issue, in my paper here: )

Economic Crisis

interesting event

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