Robert D. Richards was the founding director of the Pennsylvania Center for the First Amendment at Penn State. Prior to joining the Penn State faculty, he worked as a news writer, anchor, reporter and talk show host for stations in the Northeast and for NBC News in New York City. Richards is the co-author of “Mass Communications Law in Pennsylvania” (2003), and is the author of “Freedom’s Voice: The Perilous Present and Uncertain Future of the First Amendment” (1998) and “Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-Open: Mr. Justice Brennan’s Legacy to the First Amendment” (1994), along with more than 175 articles on the First Amendment in the academic and popular press. He has appeared frequently in the media commenting on First Amendment issues. At Penn State, he served as the head of the journalism department and associate dean of the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications before retiring in 2024.

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Freedom of Assembly and Association

The First Amendment guarantees â€śthe right of the people peaceably to assemble.” The notion that the act of gathering is pivotal to a functioning democracy relates to the belief that individuals espousing ideas will tend to coalesce around their commonalities. As a result, a correlative right of association — though not enumerated in the First Amendment […]