Constitutional Law

Alcohol and the Origins of the First Amendment

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Reason contributor and Keep Food Legal Executive Director Baylen Linnekin has posted a fascinating working paper to the Social Science Research Network entitled "'Tavern Talk & the Origins of the Assembly Clause: Tracing the First Amendment's Assembly Clause Back to Its Roots in Colonial Taverns." Here's a partial description from the abstract:

To better understand the freedom of assembly in America, one must explore and understand its origins. Tracing the evolution of the freedom of assembly requires placing this freedom "within the context of culture." Exploring the origins of the freedom of assembly in the context of culture requires tracing the right—as practiced—back to its fundamental situs, a term that can be used to ground rights in their proper place or places.

The proper situs of the Assembly Clause, research reveals, is in its birthplace: colonial America's taverns. Colonial taverns served not just as establishments for drinking alcohol but as vital centers where colonists of reputations great and small gathered to read printed tracts, speak with one another on important issues of the day, debate the news, organize boycotts, draft treatises and demands, plot the expulsion of their British overlords, and establish a new nation.

Download the paper here. (Via The Originalism Blog)

Read Linnekin on nannying celebrity chef Jamie Oliver right here and watch him talk government regulations and Washington, D.C.'s thriving food truck scene below:

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