Where's the Harm?: Free Speech and the Regulation of Lies
11 Pages Posted: 1 May 2009 Last revised: 20 Sep 2015
Date Written: May 1, 2009
The United States Supreme Court has interpreted the First Amendment to accord a measure of protection to outright lies. This essay seeks to explain why. Using Holocaust denial as an example of verifiably false speech, this essay poses the question of whether such speech poses a more serious danger than First Amendment jurisprudence traditionally has acknowledged. This essay also probes the unintended consequences of governmental attempts to impose criminal punishment on lies.
Keywords: First Amendment, Holocaust denial, lies, opinion, verfiability, falsity
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