The University of Texas at Austin School of Law has announced the launch of a new center dedicated to advancing the discussion of and scholarship around the First Amendment.
Supported by commitments totaling $8 million from alumni Doug Bech (J.D. '70) and Samuel Loughlin (J.D. '98), the Bech-Loughlin First Amendment Center will include a Law and Religion Clinic focused on challenges to religious liberty. Students at the law school will serve as advocates for clients who would otherwise be unlikely to find representation, including those denied benefits or opportunities because of their religious practice or beliefs, religious institutions discriminated against in municipal land-use decisions, and individuals seeking to practice their religion in restrictive environments, such as prison or an educational setting.
"At a moment where our nation is divided on so many issues, our constitutional right to free speech is one of the most important tools we have to facilitate needed discussions, find common ground, and continue making progress, together," said UT Austin interim president Jay Hartzell. "The First Amendment Center will provide incredible experiential learning opportunities for UT law students while helping serve Texans in need of legal counsel and representation."
(Photo credit: University of Texas at Austin School of Law)