On Thursday morning, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz told Fox News that he would sue the University of California, Berkeley if they restrict his First Amendment right to free speech.
“I’m going to sue Berkeley if they don’t allow me to speak,” Dershowitz said.
Dershowitz told Fox News that he had been invited to speak at UC Berkeley, but the university administrators told him due to his “high profile” status he would have to wait at least eight weeks. The loophole, Dershowitz said, is that if a department of the university rather than an on-campus organization invites a “high-profile” speaker, the guest gets to bypass the eight-week delay.
“Departments invite anti-Israel speakers all the time so they don’t have to go through the eight-week thing, but they don’t invite pro-Israel speakers,” Dershowitz told Fox News.
The liberal professor, who is also pro-Israel, says this loophole is unacceptable.
“If they make me wait eight weeks and allow anti-Israel speakers to come within three or four days, that’s a lawsuit,” he said.
UC Berkeley is a public university that receives taxpayer money, and Dershowitz wants the school to be held accountable for violating the First Amendment.
“They are bound by the First Amendment. So they can’t impose one rule on pro-Israel speakers and one rule on anti-Israel speakers, one rule on conservatives and one rule on liberals,” Dershowitz said.
Dershowitz says the standards that deem a speaker “high profile” is unclear and used as a barrier to block certain views.
“What is the definition of high profile? Would they actually turn down President Trump if he said I want to speak there in a week?” Dershowitz asked.
The longtime Democrat put the public school on notice threatening legal action in a case he said he was confident he’d win.
“I’m not going to let Berkeley get away with that they are a public university, and they are going to have to comply with the First Amendment,” he said.