Letter writer: Xpress’ situational First Amendment interpretation

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Interesting to see that the Xpress’ editorial staff claims that the statement, “I also hope [Trump] will bomb Mecca …” is not hate speech [Editor’s response to the letter “Don’t Print Hate Speech,” Jan. 11]. Some kind of bending the duty of the press into pretzel shapes to avoid the self-evident-to-everyone-but-you that that statement is the definition of hate. Situational First Amendment interpretation.

Just because the writer didn’t snarl about “those [f***ing Mu**ies],” that apparently in your minds gives you an out. Any normal person would parse the situation quite differently.

All together now, what could possibly be behind a wish to bomb the home of a religion?

Come on, you can do it. Complete the sentence: “It’s clearly _____ speech.”

— Karl Moeller

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2 thoughts on “Letter writer: Xpress’ situational First Amendment interpretation

  1. Curious

    Has the letter writer read this?

    No, there’s no “hate speech” exception to the First Amendment
    By Eugene Volokh May 7, 2015

    I keep hearing about a supposed “hate speech” exception to the First Amendment, or statements such as, “This isn’t free speech, it’s hate speech,” or “When does free speech stop and hate speech begin?” But there is no hate speech exception to the First Amendment. Hateful ideas (whatever exactly that might mean) are just as protected under the First Amendment as other ideas. One is as free to condemn Islam — or Muslims, or Jews, or blacks, or whites, or illegal aliens, or native-born citizens — as one is to condemn capitalism or Socialism or Democrats or Republicans.

    To be sure, there are some kinds of speech that are unprotected by the First Amendment. But those narrow exceptions have nothing to do with “hate speech” in any conventionally used sense of the term. For instance, there is an exception for “fighting words” — face-to-face personal insults addressed to a specific person, of the sort that are likely to start an immediate fight. But this exception isn’t limited to racial or religious insults, nor does it cover all racially or religiously offensive statements. Indeed, when the City of St. Paul tried to specifically punish bigoted fighting words, the Supreme Court held that this selective prohibition was unconstitutional (R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul (1992)),

  2. Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

    I bet King George III thought what the American colonialists said about him was pretty hateful.

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