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A First Amendment Victory: William Ayers Finally Allowed to Speak

Beacon Broadside ran a post by William Ayers on April 7 about being "disinvited" from lecturing at the University of Wyoming—read the original post here. Earlier this week, Denver Westword's Michael Roberts, who followed the incident closely as it became a lawsuit, reported that United States District Court Judge William Downes "ordered that Ayers be allowed to speak at the university," after dismissing the university's security concerns as a "heckler's veto." According to Roberts, the federal judge cited earlier free speech cases—including the famous Williams v. Wallace involving Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—and "stressed that 'fear is not enough to override the First Amendment.'" Ayers spoke yesterday to a crowd of more than 1,000; the Billings Gazette offers a write-up of the event, which drew "about 10 protesters."

For those interested in reading more about important First Amendment battles, we suggest two great books: Anthony Lewis's Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment and Christopher M. Finan's From the Palmer Raids to the Patriot Act: A History of the Fight for Free Speech in America.