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Written by David L. Hudson Jr., published on January 1, 2009 , last updated on May 6, 2024

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Steven H. Swander (1951-2012) was a Texas-based First Amendment attorney known for his passion for free speech, zeal for life, and defending the underdog


Swander defended First Amendment rights in Texas

Born in 1951 in Burbank, Calif., Swander earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Southern California and his law degree from Baylor University.   He entered private practice in the Fort Worth area in Texas.  He had a deep affinity for the Lone Star state.  His parents co-wrote the song “Deep in the Heart of Texas.” (Campbell.) 


But he made his mark as a lawyer defending constitutional rights.  “He was a first-rate attorney who championed those rights in a state where those rights were under constant attack,” said fellow First Amendment attorney Wayne Giampietro. “He was one of the best attorneys I have been privileged to meet. He was a leader in that organization, respected by everyone he met.” (Hudson). 


Swander was president of First Amendment Lawyers Association

Swander served as the president of the First Amendment Lawyers Association where he distinguished himself with detailed and informative presentations on zoning, licensing and secondary effects – the doctrine government officials often use to regulate businesses that offer adult-oriented expression.


David L. Hudson, Jr. is a law professor at Belmont who publishes widely on First Amendment topics.  He is the author of a 12-lecture audio course on the First Amendment entitled Freedom of Speech: Understanding the First Amendment (Now You Know Media, 2018).  He also is the author of many First Amendment books, including The First Amendment: Freedom of Speech (Thomson Reuters, 2012) and Freedom of Speech: Documents Decoded (ABC-CLIO, 2017). This article was originally published in 2017.


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