National Lawyers Guild Response to UC Berkeley Law Student Protests for Palestine, Professor Uses Physical Force.

National Lawyers Guild Response:

April 10, 2024, UC Berkeley Law Student Protests for Palestine, Professor Uses Physical Force.

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) condemns the incident on April 10, 2024, at University of California Berkeley Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and Professor Catherine Fisk’s home. Dean Chemerinsky and Professor Fisk invited law students for a dinner where a guest courageously spoke out against the genocide in Palestine and the Dean’s complicity. We saw videos where Professor Fisk used physical force against the law student by grabbing the student’s neck and clothing, including her headscarf. Physical force in response to the exercise of the right to dissent through speech is never acceptable, and is especially outrageous when condoned by a renowned legal scholar and educator. As the law student asserted her right to free speech, she also stated that the NLG had informed her that this was her First Amendment right.

The NLG  expresses full support to this courageous law student who asserted her right to free speech by choosing to speak truth to power at a school-sanctioned event. The NLG stands firmly against the genocide in Palestine and in support of students’ right to protest. A person’s First Amendment rights may extend beyond traditional public forums into spaces that are limited or non-public forums. The suppression of speech by government actors in those spaces may violate the rights of the speaker. The greatest  victims of free speech suppression today on U.S campuses, and in workplaces throughout the country, are those who refuse to be complicit in genocide and who stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza and Palestine, not those who support their oppressors.

The NLG is the country’s oldest and largest progressive bar association. Our chapters run autonomously and through local membership. As such, we direct the media to contact the NLG San Francisco Bay Area Chapter through its Executive Director: More information about First Amendment rights within the context of demonstrations or protests can be found in the NLG’s Know Your Rights for Protesters Manual, accessible at:

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