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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Nazis and free speech

Apropos of nothing: Nazis are the focal point for all sides in the debate over free speech. Those seeking a narrower approach to free speech want a rule that specifically and explicitly excludes actual Nazis from First Amendment protection; consider one comment to this post and the repeated  position of Elie Mystal in this RadioLab "More Perfect" Debate. Those who defend the current expansive understanding of free speech consider protection for Nazis, especially in Skokie, as a high point in the fight for free speech.

No conclusion to be drawn; just an observation.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on December 10, 2017 at 03:10 PM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman, Law and Politics | Permalink


I don't know if what you say is true of academics, judges, or other serious people who prefer a narrower approach than what we've got (I don't think of Mystal as a particularly serious person). I agreed with the (often solo) dissents in Snyder v. Phelps, United States v. Stevens, Alliance for Open Society, would probably side with Colorado in Masterpiece Cakeshop even if Cakeshop's owner were a poet being compelled to write a poem, would like a narrower approach to speech on the campus and could possibly tolerate some anti-hate-speech law. But I don't want any exclusion for Nazis and very much doubt that the dissenters in the cases I mentioned would either. Speech rights for political groups we don't like are sort of the floor, for me, of what the First Amendment must protect.

Posted by: Asher Steinberg | Dec 11, 2017 12:54:58 PM

There was no formal complaint against Lindsay.

http s://www .therecord. com/news-story/7986445-no-formal-complaint-against-wilfrid-laurier-student-lindsay-shepherd-lawyer-confirms/

In a letter dated Dec. 4, and sent to Shepherd's lawyer Howard Levitt, from the Laurier-hired lawyer Robert Centa, it reads: "You asked for a copy of the complaint or complaints filed against your client. At this point in my investigation, I do not believe there is a document that contains a 'complaint' made about Ms. Shepherd nor is there anything I would describe as a formal complaint under any WLU policy," wrote Centa,

Posted by: Laurier | Dec 11, 2017 5:48:59 PM

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