In the last 24 hours, the US Supreme Court unanimously reaffirms: There is no ‘hate speech’ exception to the First Amendment.
And for those not sure what the First Amendment to the US Constitution is, this is it:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
This was an 8 – Nil decision. Justices representing the left, right and centre all agreed the Government cannot make offensive or even hate or humiliation speech offensive.
Associate Justice Samuel Alito wrote this:
[The idea that the government may restrict] speech expressing ideas that offend … strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express “the thought that we hate.”
I have written before that the US First Amendment is the Gold Standard for free speech. Sadly what we have in Australia is the Green Standard, apparently supported by all sides of our political spectrum.
It is is a disgrace that provisions such as Section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act remain on the statute books, and Australia is a much poorer country for it.
Canberra – hang your heads in shame.