Yesterday the Federalist Society and AEI co-hosted a panel discussion on Liberty’s Refuge, The Forgotten Freedom of Assembly by Washington University School of Law’s John Inazu. As AEI summarized the event:
Inazu began the conversation with an overview of his objectives in writing "Liberty’s Refuge"-- he aimed to offer diagnostic, historical and normative arguments by which to explore freedom of assembly and its relevance in American courts. Through this framework, Inazu examined the distinction between government toleration and government support of a practice as well as the role of assembly in emerging social movements (like the Tea Party Movement). Douglas Laycock of the University of Virginia School of Law praised Inazu's historic overview but criticized the book's normative arguments -- shifting between freedom of association and assembly, Laycock argued, would have little substantive impact on major court decisions.
David Bernstein of the George Mason University School of Law touted Inazu's work for highlighting the historical origins and relevance of freedom of assembly. Like Laycock, Bernstein used the decision in Roberts vs. United States Jaycees -- which dealt with organizational antidiscrimination law in Minnesota -- to make his case, ultimately concluding that moving towards assembly would not change case outcomes. Inazu concluded the discussion by alleging that a shift in frameworks is indeed consequential, contrary to what Laycock and Bernstein suggested.
You can watch a video of the full event here.