Attorney Harmeet Dhillon branded former Vermont governor Howard Dean and California Congresswoman Jackie Speier as “amateurs” at law and the Constitution during a press conference on Monday.
Dhillon, who is acting as the attorney for the UC Berkeley College Republicans and Young America’s Foundation against UC Berkeley, who has placed numerous restrictions on an upcoming event featuring Ann Coulter, answered questions from reporters at the press conference about the case.
Last week, Dean had claimed on Twitter that “hate speech is not protected by the first amendment,” prompting numerous lawyers to correct him and his interpretation of the Constitution, including Dhillon during the press conference.
Hate speech is not protected by the first amendment. https://t.co/DOct3xcLoY
— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) April 21, 2017
“I never thought I’d be on the same side of an issue as Willie Brown, Bernie Sanders, Bill Maher, Keith Ellison, and every other person who is a lawyer,” declared Dhillon during the conference, citing the fact that numerous Democrats have criticized the college.
“There are some amateur lawyers, like Howard Dean, who looks up a case on the internet and thinks he’s a supreme court scholar, and some of our members of Congress who play lawyers on T.V. apparently, but no, I don’t know any serious lawyers who practice constitutional law and think that this is appropriate, and I have had dozens and dozens of emails and calls from lawyers who don’t know me around the country,” Dhillon added.
“They all start with ‘I don’t support what Ann Coulter says, but,’ or ‘I hate what Donald Trump stands for, but you’re absolutely right on this and it can’t stand,” she proclaimed.
Earlier on in the press conference, Dhillon also said that Congresswoman Jackie Speier “doesn’t know what she’s talking about,” after a reporter asked about the congresswoman’s comments, which defended the college’s actions.
“Congresswoman Jackie Speier today said that the university has no obligation to set themselves up for a violent interaction,” said a reporter in a question. “[Speier says] Ann Coulter has been invited back, she has chosen not to show up on the day available, [and that] this is Ann Coulter’s attempt to stir the pot and get some publicity.”
Dhillon replied to the reporter that “That’s what you get when people who are amateurs at First Amendment law talk about it,” adding “she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”
“Number one, the university is a limited public forum, and so as a matter of law, it is required to give equal access to speakers of different viewpoints,” explained Dhillon. “That is absolutely established blackletter, form book law. Number two, it is also equally established as in the case of Auburn last week, that you can not allow hecklers to interfere with the speech rights.”