Offensive Speech Is Still Legally Protected Free Speech. That’s a Good Thing.

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I’ve practiced First Amendment law for more than a decade—first in Washington, D.C. and now in New York. I’ve represented newspapers from New York to Australia. I teach media law at Fordham Law School and regularly publish scholarship on the history of the First Amendment.

I believe deeply in that amendment and in the historical role of newspapers as a bulwark against intrusions on the rights protected by it.

So I was surprised to see my local New Jersey newspaper, The Westfield Leader, argue that some speech with which it disagrees is not “free speech.” The editorial, “Free Speech Does Not Include Freedom to Incite Violence,” takes a familiar and unfortunate form: “I believe in free speech, but…”

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Source: The Daily Beast

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