Some people have sometimes wondered about why our Supreme Court allows one group or another to march in a parade, even though it’s the most provocative thing in the world, and they carry signs that are an insult to one group or another. And the reason is, that’s freedom. Freedom of speech. In America, you have the right to be stupid. If you want to be. …Now, I think that’s a virtue. That’s something worth fighting for.Secretary of State John Kerry • Speaking to a group of German students, on the first overseas trip of his tenure as head of the State Department. Kerry’s allusion to Supreme Court precedent defending the right to offensive parades is no doubt a reference to cases like NSPA v. Skokie, which in 1977 upheld the right of Nazis to hold a march in Skokie, Illinois, where 1 in 6 residents were holocaust survivors. That right, Kerry argued, is virtuous and quintessentially American, despite the terrible emotional toll that may result from such offensive expressions — “the right to be stupid.” source
Let’s not let arguments over the Constitution’s Second Amendment violate the spirit of its First. President Obama believes that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. However, the Constitution not only guarantees an individual right to bear arms, but also enshrines the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press — fundamental principles that are essential to our democracy.White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, responding to the Alex Jones-initiated petition to deport Piers Morgan.
I’m not happy that my sisters have to worry about being recorded in public, but I’m happy a police officer (for instance) has to worry about this the next time he’s doing a stop & friskReddit co-founder Alex Ohanian • In an emailed statement to Jezebel, regarding the continued fallout from Gawker’s expose on former reddit moderator Michael “Violentacrez” Brutsch and the ensuing media focus on the site’s questionably legal and certifiably creepy corners. Ohanian’s comments echo those made by a number of other people involved with creating/running reddit on a daily basis, who argue that the protection of free speech requires the continued acceptance of content that make the vast majority of people uncomfortable. source
We are not saying stop free speech. We are staying stop hate speech. …You have to see that there is a provocation. You should understand the psychology of people who revere their prophet and don’t want people to insult him.Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation • Advocating for a global ban on denigrating the character of the Islamic faith’s prophet, Muhammad. This is a red-hot issue, as it was six years ago, when a series of Danish cartoons mocking Muhammad sparked worldwide protests and riots, seeing the assault and burning of multiple Danish embassies. The distinction between “hate speech” and “free speech” seems to be a sticking point, here — one which may illicit very different answers from different people, especially across the religious/secular divide. What do you think? source
The State has failed to provide any explanation or evidence as to why a public advertisement or offer to assist in an otherwise legal activity is sufficiently problematic to justify an intrusion on protected speech rights.The Georgia Supreme Court • In a unanimous ruling on a 1994 assisted suicide law that said two things — one, it didn’t fully make assisted suicides illegal, and two, it blocked legal forms of free speech, meaning that the law ran smack-first into the First Amendment. As a result of the incident, members of the Final Exit Network, who were facing charges over allegedly helping a cancer-stricken man die, won’t face trial for the incident. The 1994 law, passed in the wake of Jack Kevorkian, made it a felony for anyone who ”publicly advertises, offers or holds himself or herself out as offering that he or she will intentionally and actively assist another person in the commission of suicide and commits any overt act to further that purpose.” source (via • follow)