The Classroom Law Project partnered with the Oregon State Bar, the United States District Court, and Lewis & Clark Laws School to host two programs that considered the relationship between civility, free speech, and hate speech.

The first program held on November 1, 2012 was planned for the general public and the second program, held on December 7, 2012 was developed specifically for educators to consider how to teach controversial issues in the classroom.

Should Hate Speech Be Protected?

November 1, 2012

Hatfield U.S. Courthouse in Portland, Oregon

The program began with a viewing of the exhibit, Lawyers without Rights: The Fate of Jewish Lawyers in Germany after 1933.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon then led the panel discussion by highlighting the issues raised in Jeremy Waldron’s new book, The Harm in Hate Speech, which compares hate speech laws in the U.S. with those of other countries around the world.  He was joined by panelists Kathleen Saadat, Interim Diversity Development/Affirmative Action and Inclusion Manager for the City of Portland and Shahriar Ahmed, President of Balil Masjid Mosque Association. 

Following the panel discussion community members were able to engage in small group facilitated dialogues using the Deliberating in a Democracy model to discuss hate speech and practice civil discourse.



Speaker Bios


Hon. Michael H. Simon’s nomination to U.S. District Court Judge for the state of Oregon was confirmed by The United States Senate on June 21, 2011.  He was previously a partner at Perkins Coie, where he specialized in business litigation in both state and federal court and acted as head of litigation for the firm's Portland office. Judge Simon was co-editor and co-author of Federal Civil Litigation in Oregon (OSB CLE 1994, 1998, 2002 supp., 2009 rev.) and co-editor of FBA Federal Court Practice Handbook, Oregon Chapter (1991). He is on the board of directors and past president of the Classroom Law Project. Simon earned his B.A. summa cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles and his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School.


Kathleen Saadat is currently the Diversity Development/Affirmative Action Manager for the City of Portland. Prior to coming to the City, Kathleen worked at Cascade AIDS Projects. Kathleen was one of Oregon Business Magazine’s 100 WHO LEAD in Oregon and she is a recipient of a Woman of Achievement Award from Oregon State University; The Portland Lesbian Community Project's Spirit of Portlandia Awards for Leadership; the Bayard Rustin Civil Rights Award, presented by the Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment; the Harvey Milk Award presented by After Eight, Corvallis, Oregon; a Civil Liberties Award from the Oregon chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union; the Phoenix Rising Jack Abele award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Arts Foundation in recognition of her contributions to the efforts to "Keep Living the Dream" of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Shahriar Ahmed is a Senior Engineer at Intel and President of Balil Masjid Mosque Association. He has fostered interfaith outreach efforts in the Beaverton community of Oregon in an effort to establish an ongoing dialogue between Jewish, Christian, and other faith traditions. He has worked with the Human Rights Advisory Commission of Beaverton to raise cultural awareness within the community.  Shahriar Ahmed earned his M.A. from SUNY at Buffalo and his PhD from Rice University in Electrical Engineering. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the Oregon Graduate Institute.  



Classroom Law Project Civic Education Conference

December 7, 2012

Salem, Oregon


Included a keynote by U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon on Jeremy Waldron’s book, The Harm in Hate Speech.


State Program Coordinator

Marilyn Cover, Executive Director of Classroom Law Project

620 SW Main St., Suite 102

Portland, OR 97205