Constitution Daily

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Podcast: The First Amendment and hate speech

September 28, 2017 by NCC Staff


The First Amendment says that Congress “shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech.” Over the years, the Supreme Court has read that to mean that the government, more broadly, cannot limit free speech. At the same time, the Court has shown great deference to laws intended to protect religious, racial, and sexual minorities. Some scholars have argued that hateful speech should face the same level of scrutiny given to libel and true threats.

Does the First Amendment protect hate speech? Can Courts meaningfully decide what counts as hate speech and what does not?

Joining us to discuss these important questions and more are two leading scholars of constitutional law.

Shannon Gilreath is Professor of Law and Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Wake Forest University Law School. His books include Sexual Politics: The Gay Person in America Today (2006) and The End of Straight Supremacy: Realizing Gay Liberation (2011). 

Keith Whittington is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton and author of the upcoming book, Why Free Speech is Central to the Mission of a University.


Today’s show was engineered by David Stotz and produced by Ugonna Eze and Scott Bomboy. Research was provided by Lana Ulrich.

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