About the Center

Prof. Collis with representatives of the Georgian Orthodox Church in 2017. He met with them on behalf of the U.S. State Department to help them understand the importance of the principles that come from both the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause.

The Bech-Loughlin First Amendment Center is dedicated to advancing knowledge of the First Amendment and to fostering appreciation of its place in our legal system.  Clinical Professor Steven T. Collis is the founding faculty director of the Center.

The rights secured by the First Amendment include liberties of religion, speech, and the press, as well as the freedoms to peacefully assemble and petition the government.  The Bech-Loughlin Center provides opportunities for deliberation about these rights and the controversies related to them.  Such deliberation may occur in forms that include conferences, scholarship, lectures, conversations, and debates.

The Center also provides educational resources about First Amendment issues for students.  Those resources will include a Law and Religion Clinic beginning in the spring of 2021, in which students will represent clients in cases that involve challenges to their religious liberty.  Students in the clinic will receive training and supervision from Professor Collis.

The Bech-Loughlin Center is a non-partisan entity.  The Center is founded on the premise that robust discussion of contested legal questions is essential to a well-functioning democratic culture and to the preservation of the rule of law.