Question of the Day

According to Supreme Court rulings, does the right to free speech under the U.S. Constitution prevent government from censoring offensive, hateful, and racist speech?

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In the 1949 case of Terminiello v. Chicago, all of the Supreme Court justices embraced the view that "the right to speak freely and to promote diversity of ideas and programs is therefore one of the chief distinctions that sets us apart from totalitarian regimes. ... Accordingly a function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger." In the 1992 case of R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a law banning cross burning and Nazi swastikas violated the right to free speech. In the same case, however, the Supreme Court explained that the right to free speech does not include "threats of violence."

DocumentationOffensive SpeechCalls for Violence



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