Category Archives: Freedom of Speech

Confederate Flag


Essential Question: Does freedom of speech protect your rights to intimidate me?

You can’t do that

Does freedom of speech protect your rights to intimidate me, all the people inside the world has a right to say whatever ever they want but only in the united states, the confederate flag is something that many black men or women would be pissed about it. But many people it’s mainly down south because that were racism normally came from back in the day and  the redneck I would say would do it. Have something like the confederate flag they have there right to put up whatever they want, but those are fighting expressions on what they are doing and showing. They have that right to freely express themselves, but if it makes other people angry then there is going to be confrontation between the people who thinking they  are doing the right thing for themselves , but doesn’t know that they are hurting other people. In the article  it showed that the they wanted to ban all confederate flags from the flagpoles of the administrations cemtries. But some others got really upset and still wanted it to be up there. And they didn’t care and still changed it.

People don’t agree that having confederate flags is bad they are thinking they are doing there own kind of work and showing there on beliefs and they dont think its bad at all.  Also another thing that we should change is the way they come about it like this article right here and then go down to the end of the page and you can see that teens from Alambma cleaved county gets suspended because they are doing something outrages and uncaused for. Also another thing is that they can do all that because they have the first amendment right to do that and save them, but inside a school free and safe place for many kids you can’t express how you feel towards in color of people. The first amendment allows you to to express how you feel and what you feel just goes about how you do it towards another person or not or a group of people that’s why it’s outrageous for them to have the confederate flag because it causes so many issues. And finally how it happens is that a shooting happened in columbia confederate flag was taken down from it and they took it down since it was causeing so many troubles.




Confederate Flag News Coverage

“Confederate Flag News Coverage.” NBC News. N. p., 2015. Web. 2 Oct. 2018


Confederate flag coming back to the SC State House on Tuesday

“Confederate Flag Coming Back To The SC State House On Tuesday.” thestate. N. p., 2018. Web. 2 Oct. 2018.



Confederate flags fly at Clemson. Here’s how students responded

“Confederate Flags Fly At Clemson. Here’S How Students Responded.” thestate. N. p., 2018. Web. 2 Oct. 2018.


Freedom Of Expression

Topic: Burning of the Flag

Essential Question: Should the burning of the Flag be protected by the 1st Amendment or should it not?

Should burning of the Flag and/or taking a knee during the national Anthem

be protected by freedom of speech? Several, people believe that it should be banned and the actions presented was not in any way respectful, although others have thought that it should be allowed and is also, away to express their freedom.

Many sources state that the burning of the American flag is protected by the 1st Amendment, although it is unpleasant. Meanwhile, Donald Trump our well known president, thinks differently about the situation. Stating that “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or a year in jail!”. But, others sees it is away to express disagreement. Just like kneeling during the National Anthem. If we ban the burning of the flag we should might as well ban our freedom of expression in total, then how free would we be?


  • All you need to know about why NFL players are taking a knee and where it came from
                  “All You Need To Know About Why NFL Players Are Taking A Knee And Where It Came From.” The Independent. N.                       p., 2018. Web. 5 Oct. 2018.
  • Flag Burning or Desecration
              “Flag Burning Or Desecration.” American Civil Liberties Union. N. p., 2018. Web. 5 Oct. 2018.
  • Flag burning and the First Amendment: Yet another look at the two – National Constitution Center
    “Flag Burning And The First Amendment: Yet Another Look At The Two – National Constitution Center.” National Constitution Center – N. p., 2018. Web. 5 Oct. 2018.

Free Speach bubbles outside Abortion Clinics

Essential Question: Do buffer zones outside of abortion clinics violate the first amendment?

A hot topic in American politics is the debate over the legality of abortion, and both sides are very politically active participating in marches, rallies, and protests. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution gives Americans the right to assemble and protest in public spaces, and it is the protesters’ fundamental goal is to interact with and be heard by as many people as possible to try and persuade people to join their side. Abortion clinics are public property, so protesters should be legally entitled to assemble outside of these facilities. But, in many cases, the protesters become disruptive and interfere with the patients. Where should the government draw the line in order to make sure that protesters are heard while protecting those wishing to access these abortion clinics?

In 2007, Massachusetts created 35-foot buffer zones around the entrance of abortion clinics citing a history of harassment and violence. The supporters of the law claimed it was an essential measure to protect public safety and health care access, but opponents argued that the law blatantly discriminates against pro-life activists and only protected people from speech that they didn’t want to hear. The supreme court ultimately struck down this law because they decided it silenced the opponents of abortion which violates their first amendment rights.

In 2000, Colorado had enacted a law that does not allow for protesters to be within 8 feet of people within 100 feet of health facilities without their consent. This law was upheld by the supreme court. Justice Stevens said, “the statute is not a regulation of speech. Rather, it is a regulation of the places where some speech may occur. Although the statute prohibits speakers from approaching unwilling listeners, it does not require a standing speaker to move away from anyone passing by. Nor does it place any restriction on the content of any message that anyone may wish to communicate to anyone else, either inside or outside the regulated areas. It does, however, make it more difficult to give unwanted advice, particularly in the form of a handbill or leaflet, to persons entering or leaving medical facilities.” This bill is not a perfect solution and most people are not satisfied with it because depending on their viewpoint felt it didn’t protect patients enough, it limited free speech too much, or it was too difficult to enforce. The balance between allowing free speech and preventing obstruction is still being debated today and does not appear to have an end in the foreseeable future.


Works Cited:


Liptak, A. and Schwartz, J.

Liptak, Adam, and John Schwartz. “Court Rejects Zone To Buffer Abortion Clinic.” N. p., 2014. Web. 25 Sept. 2018.



Hill v. Colorado, 530 U.S. 703 (2000)

“Hill V. Colorado, 530 U.S. 703 (2000).” Justia Law. N. p., 2018. Web. 25 Sept. 2018.

Does the First Amendment Protect Hate Speech?

Slander/Libel, Fighting words, and obscenity can be hate speech, but not all hate speech is slander/libel, fighting words, and obscenity. The First Amendment protects the majority of hate speech, but the only thing that it doesn’t protect is when someone is openly abusing the individual(s) with hate toward their race, color, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or religion.

Hate speech can be obscenity. An example of this is the R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul court case. Allegedly, a group of teenagers burned “a crudely fashioned cross on a black family’s lawn.” Based on the United State’s short history, not long ago were African Americans segregated against, and tortured and murdered. The Klu Klux Klan was a group organized in 1865, specifically made to strike fear into the hearts of African Americans and those that supported them. Eventually, the Klu Klux Klan decided to act, who continued to suppress newly freed slaves as well as beat and hang them. Their symbol was their white outfits as well as the burning cross. The display of this on the family’s yard caused extreme anger, and aroused fear based on their race. The issue is that hate speech itself falls into a number of different categories that are considered crimes. The article provides an example, “threatening to kill someone because he’s black (or white) or intentionally inciting someone to a likely and immediate attack on someone because he’s Muslim (or Christian or Jewish), can be made a crime.” This is hate speech, but falls under the illegal status because one cannot make true threats at another or try to start crimes for any reason. Hate speech can also be slander/libel. The Beauharnais v. Illinois was a case where a man posted papers asking government officials to “halt the encroachment, harassment, and invasion of white people and call whites to unite against the violence perpetrated by African-Americans.” This is libel against the African-American race, and collectively insulting every person that is or identifies with that race.

Lawyers say that hate speech itself is not part of the exceptions of the first amendment unless it falls under one of the other kinds of unprotected expression. The lines are not clearly drawn out, and hate speech continues to happen with no consequence because it is so difficult to pinpoint. The first amendment protects any speech, no matter how emotionally harmful, unless it poses physical harm, or is direct or personal toward another person. The first amendment is not just freedom of speech, but freedom of expression. Through the court system, there have been many cases where there has been tension because of what someone was wearing, including the Cohen v. California case. In this case, a man decided to wear a jacket showing his opposition to the Vietnam war. He was taken to court about it, but the judges protected him stating, “one man’s vulgarity is another man’s lyric.” The court protected the emotive and cognitive element of speech even though Cohen was found guilty and served 30 days in jail.

The Village of Skokie v. National Socialist Party of America was another case where clothing was questioned. A march was going to take place, and the marchers wanted to wear clothing extremely similar to those that Nazis wore, including the armband Swastika. The major issue was that the march would take place in a village where a large number of the population was Jewish, and most of whom had survived the concentration camps. The court case looked at the Cohen v. California case and ruled that the Nationalist Socialist Party could wear what they wanted to. The court said that the “government could not base rules on the feelings of “the most squeamish among us” and that the wearing of the swastikas was “a matter of taste and style.””

Hate speech is a giant grey area within modern day law. Many fights start with someone stating something awful to another person. A person could say something that would be fighting words, but the saying itself would not be the crime, but what follows after what was said would be. The internet makes it even more difficult to legislate hate speech. Hate speech is said every day on many platforms, that it would take an extremely long time and nearly impossible to shut down every website or every post that showed any sign of hate speech. The concept of “one man’s vulgarity is another man’s lyric,” makes one’s speech difficult to judge unless it is blatantly stated in a way that crosses the lines on one or more of the already established limits of speech.



Demaske, C. (2018). Hate Speech. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Sep. 2018].

Gjelten, E. (2018). Does the First Amendment Protect Hate Speech?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Sep. 2018].

Oyez. (2018). Beauharnais v. Illinois. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Sep. 2018].

Oyez. (2018). Cohen v. California. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Sep. 2018].

Oyez. (2018). R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Sep. 2018].

Wait, so there’s more than can’t be said than “Kill the POTUS”?

All too many people in the United States know someone dear to them that has passed away while fighting for our country. If the death of a loved one is not enough, imagine going through the process of grieving and accepting the loss while you are at the funeral and having sick, delusional people come and protest against the death. They hold signs with phrases like “God Killed Your Sons” or “Pray for More Dead Soldiers.” To make matters worse, if you try to get the group to stop the protests, they argue that it is their right to protest thanks to the freedom of speech clause by the First Amendment. A line must be drawn as to what can and cannot be said with regards to the First Amendment and freedom of speech. Unfortunately, this issue has been occurring all too often because of the gray area in the First Amendment.

The issues that occur with the freedom of speech clause have been prevalent since the beginning of the 1900s. In fact, 168 cases have appeared before the Supreme Court involving freedom of speech clause by the First Amendment. In 1917, Judge Learned Hand said that “government can regulate any speaker who would ‘counsel or advise a man‘ to commit an unlawful act.” In that same time, the Supreme Court ruled that government can punish all speech that has a tendency to encourage illegality. Fast forward 100 years though, and as of last June, the Supreme Court has unanimously re-established that “speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend.”

On the contrary, Joan Vennochi says, “The First Amendment protects the speech we hate to hear.” As hard as it is to hear, that is true. Being able to speak your mind is really nice if you are the one expressing yourself but not always nice if you are the person being expressed to. However, there still needs to be a line drawn as to how hateful the speech can be before it becomes an issue.

Ultimately, many courts have decided that the exception to freedom of speech is when it is proven that the defendant said something they knew others would regard as threatening. The statement cannot be deemed as unconstitutional if it was a mistake or they were harassed into saying the statement. While there is still a gray area, and probably always will be, by having courts put parameters on what can and cannot be said regarding freedom of speech, states have some ability to limit to some protest by speech if offensive, which is definitely a step in the right direction.

Where Does Hate Speech Cross the Line?

Ever since the Constitution was written, freedom of speech has been a guaranteed right granted to all Americans. As times are changing, the question of where hate speech fits into this right to speak freely has heavily been debated. Hate speech is defined by the American Bar Association as speech that offends, threatens or insults groups based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability or other traits. The word used in this definition, threats, is one that alarms many readers as they believe dangerous threats should not be protected by laws and should be taken seriously by police and the court of law. This being said, is hate speech protected by the first amendment and if so, when should hate speech no longer be protected under law? In the United States Supreme Court case, Elonis vs U.S. (2014), saw Anthony Elonis threatening his ex-wife, co-workers, a kindergarten class, a FBI agent and the local police via Facebook. After a long court process, Elonis was sentenced to forty-four months in prison with three years of supervision upon his release. During the trials, it was argued that the threats were not “true threats” and that it was a violation of the first amendment if he were to be imprisoned. The court ultimately ruled that the threats were an act of danger and was convicted of four out of the five counts. This displays the difference of saying strongly worded opinions against different people and threatening them. In this particular case, threats were not protected by the first amendment due to the fact that people’s lives were targeted through the threats.

On the other end of this topic of threats versus hate speech, the Supreme Court Case of Brandenburg v Ohio (1969) favored on the side of the person being charged for making threats. Brandenburg was an active member of the KKK in Ohio and was arrested for making threats that implied he was calling for an overthrow of the government. Once the case got all the way to the Supreme Court, it was ruled that no violent or illegal actions followed the threat and that the Ohio Court violated Brandenburg’s right to freedom of speech granted by the first amendment. The idea of threats versus hate speech is still heavily debated nearly 50 years after this case came to a close as the definition of threats and hate speech still do not have a clear separation. Overall, the first amendment protects Americans through the freedom of speech, but the debate on hate speech versus threats questions how the extent of this freedom of speech.

Through court cases and the definitions of hate speech, it can be determined that threats are protected by the first amendment unless someone’s life is in danger or the threat sparks violence or crimes being committed.


Works Cited:

“ABA Division For Public Education: Students: Debating The “Mighty Constitutional Opposites”: Hate Speech Debate”. Americanbar.Org, 2018, Accessed 25 Sept 2018.

“Brandenburg V. Ohio”. Oyez, 2018, Accessed 25 Sept 2018.

“Facts And Case Summary – Elonis V. U.S.”. United States Courts, 2018, Accessed 25 Sept 2018.

“What Is THREAT? Definition Of THREAT (Black’s Law Dictionary)”. The Law Dictionary, 2018, Accessed 25 Sept 2018.

“6 Major US Supreme Court Hate Speech Cases”. Thoughtco, 2018, Accessed 25 Sept 2018.