Due April 27th

Drawing the boundaries of freedom of speech involves more than just knowing what the basic purposes of the First Amendment are. The United States of America are known at least in recent times for providing exceptionally broad protection for otherwise objectionable speech and expression, and hate speech is understood to be one of the areas in which United States of America have positioned themselves further out on the speech-protective end of the legal spectrum than perhaps most other countries have been willing to venture. There is little prospect of resolving controversies over hate speech in the absence of a general theory that integrates both the jurisdictions and the limitations on freedom of speech into a coherent whole. The debate on speech regulation raises crucial issues about the meaning and limits of free expression and its relationship to other fundamental values such as civility, equality, and dignity.



i)Thesis statement

Purpose of paper


i) Definition of hate speech

Hate speech is thought to include communications of animosity or disparagement of an individual or group on account of characteristics such as race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, or sexual orientation.

ii ) Description

Hate speech takes the form of anonymous, threatening, or obscene messages or telephone calls, conduct that is an invasion of privacy. Hate speech can also constitute the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

iii) Examples: Court cases: R.A.V v. City of St. Paul, Westboro Church, Brandenburg v. Ohio, Skokie affair  

Supreme Court ruling on the court cases.

Dilemma presented by regulation of speech

iv) Constitution

Constitutional views on freedom of speech and free speech regulation.The United States federal Constitution offers no definition of freedom of speech which it forbids government to abridge. The community, and the government that it establishes, have a duty to protect the rights of their citizens, who in turn have an obligation to obey the laws made to secure the rights of others.

v)Other Individual rights

other fundamental values such as civility, equality, and dignity.

John Locke, Natural rights theory

The natural rights background of the First Amendment suggests that free speech is limited by the rights of others, and that government may protect the individual rights from wrongful injury without violating the right to free speech.

vi) Debates

Opponents of restriction on free speech

Those who support restrictions on hate speech often argue that it should be regarded as an exception to the general rule of free speech. The Supreme Court has recognized other exceptions. Hate speech causes harms that are at least as serious as those that have previously been held to justify regulation. The restriction’s opponents, on the other hand, are often skeptical of the validity of previous exceptions. From the restriction’s opponent’s perspective, the proposed restriction to free speech appears to be an attempt to carve out an unprincipled exception to the First Amendment. The restriction’s opponents fear that there would be no principled basis for resisting other efforts to regulate speech if hate speech is regulated.


Published in: on April 27, 2011 at 1:38 am  Leave a Comment  

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