When you say “hate speech is not protected by the first amendment”, what you are really saying is that violence against speakers you don’t like is justified by the Constitution.

by w3woody

And I don’t think that’s correct, Governor Dean.

No, Gov. Dean, Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire does not recognize a “hate speech” exception

I’m pleased to say that I have read Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire (1942), which is usually cited as recognizing a “fighting words” exception to the First Amendment — personally addressed face-to-face insults that are likely to start an imminent fight are not constitutionally protected. But that has little to do with “hate speech” as most people tend to use the phrase: (1) Such personal insults are constitutionally unprotected entirely without regard to whether they are bigoted. (2) Bigoted expressions of opinion that don’t involve such personally addressed face-to-face insults are constitutionally protected. (3) Indeed, statutes that target only bigoted “fighting words” for special punishments are constitutionally unprotected, even if they are limited to such personally addressed face-to-face insults, see R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul (1992).

Indeed, “fighting words” as defined here–the supposed “hate speech” exception that Governor Dean is referring to–does not actually require hateful speech or even general insults as we think of them.

For example, “Let’s take this outside” would be fighting words if, in the context in which they are used, they refer to starting a fight rather than taking out a trash can.

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