Things we call “hate speech” might occasionally fall into an existing 1st Amendment exception: a racist speech might seek to incite imminent violence against a group, or might be reasonably interpreted as an immediate threat to do harm. But “hate speech,” like other ugly types of speech we despise, is broadly protected.
Ken White, who’s identified as “a 1st Amendment litigator and criminal defense attorney at Brown White & Osborn LLP in Los Angeles” writes a lot at the legal website Popehat. One of his pet issues is freedom of speech, and I call your attention to his new piece in the Los Angeles Times, “Actually, hate speech is protected speech.” It’s a good piece and gives the proper legal responses to six comments that are often in the air from the authoritarian wing of our Left. I’ll show White’s responses to three particularly pernicious tropes (indented):
- “Not all speech is protected. There are limits to free speech.”
This slogan is true, but rarely helpful. The Supreme Court has called the few exceptions to the 1st Amendment “well-defined and narrowly limited.” They include obscenity, defamation, fraud, incitement, true threats and speech integral to already criminal conduct. First…
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