Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The First Amendment and Society's Tolerance Of Objectionable Speech

Nicholas A. Primrose, Barry University School of Law, has published Has Society Become Tolerant of Further Infringement on First Amendment Rights? Here is the abstract.

The First Amendment was written as a general prohibition on infringement of certain rights. This paper focused mostly on freedom of speech that has religious undertones. Part I of this paper introduces the First Amendment, including some historic interpretation and understanding of why the First Amendment is important to our society. Part II of this paper focuses on what the author deems three important events that are shaping society's current view of the First Amendment. Part II discusses the current events of the Ground Zero Mosque, the Westboro Baptist Church protesting and subsequent actions, and the comments from Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy regarding same-sex marriage. The author analyzes these three events to discuss concerns over society becoming tolerant of infringement on the First Amendment. Part III of this paper discusses some considerations for society. The need to protect the 'marketplace of ideas' because that is what the First Amendent was designed to protect. FInally, the paper touches on how social media and new trends in speech should also protect the idea of open public discourse. Overall, reading this paper will give you an understanding of how even though we may disagree with some speech, protecting the open debate outweighs censoring speech.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

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