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David Hudson


David L. Hudson, Jr., an Assistant Professor of Law, teaches Legal Information and Communication at Belmont. He is the author, co-author, or co-editor of more than 40 books. For much of his career, he has worked on First Amendment issues. He serves as a Justice Robert H. Jackson Legal Fellow for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and a First Amendment Fellow for the Freedom Forum Institute. For 17 years, he was an attorney and scholar at the First Amendment Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Hudson has taught classes at Vanderbilt Law School and the Nashville School of Law. In June 2018, the Nashville School of Law awarded him its Distinguished Faculty Award. He earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University and his law degree from Vanderbilt Law School. Professor Hudson's published works have been cited and relied upon by other scholars and courts. Hudson also is a licensed boxing judge and has judged a dozen world title bouts.

Areas of expertise: First Amendment issues, Constitutional law, Free speech



Selected Books

The Constitution Explained, Visible Ink Press (forthcoming June 2022).

First Things First: A Modern Coursebook on Free Speech Fundamentals, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, 2019. (co-author with Ronald K.L. Collins and Will Creeley)

Equal Protection: Documents Decoded. ABC-CLIO, 2018.

Freedom of Speech: Documents Decoded. ABC-CLIO, 2017.

The First Amendment: Freedom of Speech. Thomson Reuters, 2012.

Encyclopedia of the Fourth Amendment (two-volume set). SAGE, 2013. (co-editor with Dr. John Vile).

Let the Students Speak!: A History of the Fight for Freedom of Expression in American Schools. Beacon Press, 2011.

The Handy Law Answer Book. Visible Ink Press, 2011.

Encyclopedia of the First Amendment (two-volume set). CQ Press, 2009. (co-editor with Dr. John Vile and David Schultz).

The Handy Supreme Court Answer Book. Visible Ink Press, 2008.

The Rehnquist Court: Understanding Its Impact and Legacy. Praeger, 2006.

The First Amendment in Schools: A Guide from the First Amendment Center. ASCD, 2003. (co-author with four others).  

The Silencing of Student Voices: Preserving Free Speech in America’s Schools. Newseum, 2003.

Law Review/Journal Articles

David L. Hudson, Jr., Essay: A Continuing Constitutional Trend of Using the First to Interpret the Second, 55 Creighton L. Rev 297 (2022). SSRN

David L. Hudson, Jr., Fundamental First Amendment Principles, 42 N. Ill. U.L. Rev. 271 (2022). (co-authored with Jacob Glenn)

David L. Hudson, Jr., The Other Bar Hurdle: An Examination of the Character and Fitness Requirement for Bar Admission, 48 Mitchell Hamline L. Rev. 500 (2022). (co-authored with Andrea Gemignani)

David L. Hudson, Jr., The Roberts Court: Its First Amendment Free Expression Jurisprudence: 2005-2021, 87 Brooklyn L. Rev. 5 (2021)(co-authored with Ronald KL Collins). SSRN

David L. Hudson, Jr., Patel v. Garland, Docket No. 20-979. 49 Preview Sup. Ct. Cas. 23 (Nov., 2021)

David L. Hudson, Jr., Ramirez v. Collier, Docket No. 21-5592. 49 Preview Sup. Ct. Cas. 40 (Nov., 2021)

David L. Hudson, Jr., Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L.: The Court Protects Student Social Media but Leaves Unanswered Questions, 2020-2021 Cato Sup. Ct. Rev. 93 (2021) | SSRN

Hudson, David L., Jr. Supreme Court Examines Student Speech, Disclosure Law, and the Free Exercise Clause. 48 Preview U.S. Sup. Ct. Cas. 22 (2021).

David L. Hudson, Jr., The Supreme Court's Worst Decision in Recent Years - Garcetti vs. Ceballos, the Dred Scott Decision for Public Employees, 47 Mitchell Hamline L. Rev. (2021). | SSRN

David L. Hudson Jr., Essay: The Fighting Words Doctrine: Alive and Well in the Lower Courts, 19 U.N.H.L. Rev. 1 (2020). | SSRN

David L. Hudson Jr., and Glenn, Jacob D.  Article: Fixed Stars: Famous First Amendment Phrases and their Indelible Impact, 15 Charleston L. Rev. 189 (2020) | SSRN

David L. Hudson Jr., Justice Sonia Sotomayor: The Court’s Premier Defender of the Fourth Amendment, 44 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 19 (2020). | SSRN

David L. Hudson Jr., Unsettled Questions in Student Speech Law, 22 U. Pa. J. Const. L. 1113 (2020). | SSRN 

David L. Hudson Jr., Anti-SLAPP Coverage and the First Amendment: Hurdles to Defamation Suits in Political Campaigns, 69 Am. U. L. Rev. 1541 (2020). | SSRN  

David L. Hudson Jr., Thurgood Marshall in Tennessee: His Defense of Accused Rioters, His near-Miss with a Lynch Mob, 56 TENN. B.J. 16 (2020). | SSRN

Hudson, Jr. David L. Cyberbullying and Free Speech, 50 New Mex. L. Rev. 287 (2020). | SSRN

Hudson, Jr. David L. and Policinski, Gene.  Essay: Understanding First Amendment Freedoms Through the Remarkable Life of “The Greatest” – Muhammad Ali53 Creighton L. Rev. 267 (2020). | SSRN

Hudson, Jr. David L., The Content-Discrimination Principle and the Impact of Reed v. Town of Gilbert, 70 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 259 (2019). | SSRN (reprinted in First Amendment Law Handbook (2020)).

Hudson, Jr., David L., Justice Kennedy and the First Amendment (November 13, 2018). 9 HLRe 49 (2019); Belmont University College of Law Research Paper No. 2018-37 | SSRN

Hudson, Jr., David L., Attorney Advertising in 'The Litigators' and Modern-Day America: The Continued Importance of the Public's Need for Legal Information (2018). University of Memphis Law Review, Vol. 48, No. 960, (2018). | SSRN

Hudson, Jr., David L., Losing the Spirit of Tinker v. Des Moines and the Urgent Need to Protect Student Speech (March 4, 2018). 66 Clev. St. L. Rev. Et Cetera 2 (2018). | SSRN 

Hudson, Jr., David L., Thirty Years of Hazelwood and Its Spread to Colleges and University Campuses (2018). 61 Howard L.J. 491 (2018). | SSRN

Hudson, Jr., David L. and Harvey, Emily H., First Amendment Tests From the Burger Court: Will They Be Flipped? (2018). Mitchell Hamline L. Rev. (2018). | SSRN

Hudson, Jr., David L., Essay: Justice Thurgood Marshall, Great Defender of First Amendment Free-Speech Rights for the Powerless 2 Howard Human & Civil Rights L. Rev. 167 (2018). | SSRN 

Hudson, Jr., David L., Anti-Profanity Laws and the First Amendment. 42 T. Marshall L. Rev. 203 (2017). | SSRN

Kinsler, Jeffrey and Hudson, Jr., David L., The Secret to 85% First-Time Bar Passage Rates (2017). 40 N.C. Cent. L. Rev. 92 (2017). | SSRN

Hudson, Jr., David L. and Harvey, Emily H., Dissecting the Hybrid Rights Exception: Should it Be Expanded or Rejected? (2016). 38 UALR L. Rev. 449 (2016). | SSRN

Hudson, Jr., David L., First Amendment Right to Receive Information and Ideas Justifies Citizens' Videotaping of the Police (2016). 10 U. St. Thomas J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 89 (2016). | SSRN 

Hudson, Jr., David L., Black Armbands, 'Boobies' Bracelets and the Need to Protect Student Speech (2013). 81 UMKC L. Rev. 595 (2013). | SSRN 

Hudson, Jr., David L., Time for the Supreme Court to Address Off-Campus, Online Student Speech (2012). Oregon Law Review, Vol. 91, 2012; Belmont University College of Law Research Paper No. 2018-7. | SSRN 

Hudson, Jr., David L., The Secondary-Effects Doctrine: Stripping Away First Amendment Freedoms (2012). 23 Stanford Law & Pol. Rev. 19 (2012). | SSRN 

Hudson, Jr., David L., Pearson v. Callahan and Qualified Immunity: Impact on First Amendment Law (2011). 10 First Amend. L. Rev. 125 (2011). | SSRN 

Hudson, Jr., David L., Blogs and the First Amendment (2006). 11 NEXUS 129 (2006). | SSRN 

Hudson, Jr., David L., Justice Brennan's Significant Departure and Warning of an Evisceration (2005). 10 NEXUS 93 (2005). | SSRN

Hudson, Jr., David L., Reflecting on the Virtual Child Porn Decision (2002). 36 J. Marshall L. Rev. 211 (2002). | SSRN

Hudson, Jr., David L., Fear of Violence in Our Schools: Is ‘Undifferentiated Fear’ in the Age of Columbine Leading to a Suppression of Student Speech? (2002). 42 Washburn L.J. 79 (2002). | SSRN

Hudson, Jr., David L., Justice Clarence Thomas: The Emergence of a Commercial-Speech Protector (2002). 35 Creighton L. Rev. 485 (2002). | SSRN

Hudson, Jr., David L. and John E. Ferguson Jr., The Courts’ Inconsistent Treatment of Bethel v. Fraser and the Curtailment of Student Rights (2002). 36 J. Marshall L. Rev. 181 (2002). | SSRN 

Hudson, Jr., David L., Censorship of Student Internet Speech: The Effect of Diminishing Student Rights, Fear of the Internet and Columbine (2000). 2000 L.Rev. M.S.U.-D.C.L. 199 (2000). | SSRN 

Hudson, Jr., David L., The Secondary Effects Doctrine: 'The Evisceration of First Amendment Freedoms' (1997). 37 Washburn L.J. 55 (1997). | SSRN 

Selected Presentations:

Hudson, Jr. David L. So To Speak: The Free Speech Podcast. 'So to Speak' podcast: Sarah Palin v. New York Times (February 22, 2022)

Hudson, Jr. David L. Panelist, "Social Media Platforms as Public Forums, Trumping the Private Actor Rule, and Protecting Online Users," University of San Francisco Law Review Free Speec Symposium, (Jan. 28, 2022).

Hudson, Jr. David L. Panelist with University of Missouri-Kansas City on Bethel School Dist. v. Fraser (1986) and Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District (1969). (Jan. 26, 2022).

Hudson, Jr. David L. So To Speak: The Free Speech Podcast. Episode 151. Fighting Words (Jan. 13, 2022).

Hudson, Jr. David L. Discussion Facilitator at the Fall 2021 National Association of College and University Attorneys CLE Conference. "Free Speech Issues on Campus." (Nov. 10, 2021).

Hudson, Jr. David L. Speaker at the East-West Center's 2021 Senior Journalists Seminar. "First Amendment Overview and the Hate Speech Problem." (November 8, 2021).

Hudson, Jr. David L. Panel speaker at the 2021 Freedom of Information Oklahoma First Amendment Congress: From What You Share to What You Wear: The Limits of Free Speech On and Off Campus. (Nov. 2, 2021).

Hudson, Jr. David L. Co-Presenter, "Tinker v. Des Moines," UMKC John F. Tinker Foundation Symposium, 2021

Hudson, Jr. David L. Co-Presenter, “The First Amendment Right to Record Public Officials,” Colorado Judicial Conference, 2021.

Hudson, Jr. David L. Panelist, "Open Courts & Racial Justice,” First Amendment Watch at New York University Public Forum, March 24, 2021. 

Hudson, Jr. David L. Keynote speaker at the 2020 Northeast Regional Virtual Conference for the Social Studies: Student speech and the First Amendment (Oct. 4, 2020).

Hudson, Jr. David L.  Speaker at the St. Francis School of Law Webinar: Blurred Lines: Legal Perspectives on Free Speech and Social Media (Sept. 17, 2020). 

Hudson, Jr. David L.  Speaker at the Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University “America’s Amendments” Webinar:  The Bill of Rights: The First Ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution (Sept. 14, 2020).

Hudson, Jr. David L. Panelist, "Lawyer Ethics in Speaking to the Media," Tennessee Bar Association Reporter's Workshop, May 17, 2019.

Hudson, Jr. David L. Panelist, "Use of Social Media by Public Employees," 2019 Joint Judicial and Senior Managers Spring Conference, Washington D.C., May 9, 2019.

Hudson, Jr. David L. Debater, U.S. Intelligence Squared, “Trigger Warning: Safe Spaces Are Dangerous,” June 2018.  

Hudson, Jr. David L. Testimony before U.S. House Subcommittee, “First Amendment Protections on Public College and University Campuses,” April 2017.

Selected Articles

"Supreme Court Needs to Clarify True Threat Exception; Case Out of Colorado Could Be the Vehicle," First Amendment Watch at New York University. December 2022. 

"Lawyers have an obligation to ensure employees don’t solicit clients, new ABA ethics opinion says", ABA Journal, April 2022.

"Nonexistent critical race theory curriculum is caught in the crosshairs," ABA Journal, February, 2022. 

"First Amendment Teacher Guide: Disinformation and the First Amendment," First Amendment Watch at New York University, December 2021.

"Is the right to assemble and demonstrate under threat?" ABA Journal, December 2021

"Prosecutorial ethics are getting a fresh look from criminal justice reformers," ABA Journal, December, 2021.

"New ABA ethics opinion clarifies obligations for language access in lawyer-client relationships," ABA Journal, October, 2021.

"Florida Supreme Court order on diversity in CLEs devalues the legal profession's inclusion goals, experts say." ABA Journal, October, 2021.

"States Drive a Wave of Bills Affecting Transgender Youth," ABA Journal, Aug. 2021

Chancellor Heard and His Defense of Academic Freedom,” Tennessee Bar Journal, May-June 2021.

What is a lawyer's ethical duty to check out a client's claim before filing an action?” ABA Journal, April-May 2021.

First Amendment Teacher Guide: The Civil Rights Movement and the First Amendment: How Free Expression Freedoms Developed During the Struggle for Equality,” First Amendment Watch at New York University, April 2021.

First Amendment Teacher Guide:  Access to Courts and Court Records,” First Amendment Watch at New York University, March 2021.

How close can you be to opposing counsel without it being a conflict of interest?  Ethics opinion examines personal relationships and conflict,” ABA Journal, February/March 2021. 

"Ethics opinion helps define ABA guidance on professional misconduct," ABA Journal, October 2020.

Hudson, David L., Jr.  Who bears the burden of proof to show the exact part of a state law the noncitizen was convicted under? 47 Preview U.S. Sup. Ct. Cas. 6 (Mar., 2020).

Hudson, David L., Jr.  Must a state drug offense match the elements of a generic federal offense in order to qualify for enhancement purposes under the Armed Career Criminal Act?  47 Preview U.S. Sup. Ct. Cas. 22 (Jan., 2020).

Hudson, David L., Jr.  Does a Rule 59(e) motion to alter or amend an adverse judgment in a habeas claim count as part of the first habeas claim or as part of a generally impermissible second or successive habeas claim?  47 Preview U.S. Sup. Ct. Cas. 23 (Dec., 2019).

Hudson, David L., Jr.  Is a request for equitable tolling in an immigration removal case a question of law that provides federal appeals courts with jurisdiction or is it more of a question of fact that is beyond the courts’ jurisdiction?  47 Preview U.S. Sup. Ct. Cas. 26 (Dec., 2019).

Lawyers and Cognitive Decline: Diminished capacity may bring ethics problems for sufferers,” ABA Journal, Sept. 2018. 

When Do Rants Exceed First Amendment Boundaries,” ABA Journal, August 2018. 

Ida B. Wells: Fearless Journalist from Memphis Who Changed the World,” Tennessee Bar Journal, August 2018.

Can Anti-Profanity Laws and the Fighting Words Doctrine Be Squared with the First Amendment,” ABA Journal, April 2017.

Stifling Speech: Government invokes doctrine to silence speech it doesn’t like,” ABA Journal, Sept. 2017.

No Free Speech for You,” Slate, Aug. 4, 2017.

Public Employees, Private Speech: 1st Amendment doesn’t always protect government workers,” ABA Journal, May 2017.

How Tennessee discriminated against a talented Vanderbilt law grad,” The Tennessean, May 4, 2017.

Is Cyberbullying Free Speech,” ABA Journal, November 2016.

Explainer: how campus policies limit free speech,” The Conversation, July 31, 2016.

These lawyers battle in the boxing ring as well as the courtroom,” ABA Journal, October 2015.