Does The First Amendment Apply to Hate Speech?
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FEATURING COREY BRETTSCHNEIDER – Citing public safety, Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh ordered the removal of 4 confederate statues from her city overnight early Wednesday morning, hours after President Donald Trump once more came to the defense of Nazi demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Baltimore City Council had voted just a day earlier to remove the statues.
The question of whether white supremacists, Nazis and self-proclaimed fascists have the right of free speech when they represent the vilest ideologies ranging from racial domination to genocide is an important one. The American Civil Liberties Union has come under fire for suing Charlottesville in defense of the right of the Nazis and their affiliates to march in the city’s downtown area last weekend.
In light of Heather Heyer’s killing and De’Andre Harris’s beating did the fascists have the right to march? Indeed the so-called “Alt Right” have already planned many more marches in cities around the country and with the President egging them on, isn’t public safety in peril?
Corey Brettschneider, professor of political science at Brown University. He is the author of When the State Speaks, What Should It Say: How Democracies Can Protect Expression and Promote Equality and Trump vs. The Constitution.