by Lil Tuttle
“Hate speech,” according to an American Bar Association article, is “speech that offends, threatens, or insults groups, based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits.” Wikipedia goes further by adding “a person” as a category of victims, and adding “gender” as a basis for offense.
In reality – at least on college campuses – the radical Left has appropriated the term “hate speech” to cover virtually anything it doesn’t want to debate openly and honestly. With encouragement from complicit politicians and campus administrators and faculty, the Left has used the term to censor the free speech of those whose views are at odds with its progressive agenda.
“Hate speech,” former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean famously tweeted, “is not protected by the First Amendment.”
Oh, but it is. In a unanimous decision issued on Monday by the eight justices who heard the case, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed that ‘hate speech’ — however a person or group may define it — IS proected by the First Amendment.
Eugene Volokh, who briefly explains the Matal v. Tam opinion, highlights these two quotes from the Court’s opinion:
[The idea that the government may restrict] speech expressing ideas that offend … strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express “the thought that we hate.” (Justice Samuel Alito, writing for four justices)
A law found to discriminate based on viewpoint is an “egregious form of content discrimination” which is “presumptively unconstitutional.” … A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all. The First Amendment does not entrust that power to the government’s benevolence. Instead, our reliance must be on the substantial safeguards of free and open discussion in a democratic society. (Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for four justices)
These quotes should be posted in every corridor on every college campus throughout the U.S.