Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Carr on Free Speech and Anti-Democratic Violence @TheNewSchool

Andy Carr, The New School, New School for Social Research, Department of Politics, is publishing Free Speech and Anti-Democratic Violence at 18 Stan. J. C.R. & C.L. __ (Forthcoming). Here is the abstract.

The resurgence of far-right extremist groups—like “sovereign” militias, white supremacists, and avowedly fascist gangs—has exposed the First Amendment’s vulnerabilities to the “leaderless resistance” model of extremist organizing. This model, first popularized by white supremacist Louis Beam, specifically aims to insulate extremist leaders from liability when their followers engage in violence. It does so through fragmented structures and coded messages: Leaders use indirect references in speaking to disparate followers, without specificity (of targets) or immediacy (of corresponding violence), as required, e.g., for “incitement” under Brandenburg v. Ohio. This Article makes two contributions. First, it articulates this “gap” with precision, drawing upon recent, mostly overlooked cases while explaining the limits of extant free speech exceptions. Second, it reformulates Professor Clay Calvert’s recent proposal for opening extremist group leaders to vicarious liability, including a discussion of how to avoid overly broad adjustments that may impinge on other kinds of speech.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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