The Hatefulness of Protected Speech: A Comparison of the American and European Approaches
7 William and Mary Bill of Rights Journal 305 (1999)
43 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2014
Date Written: June 01, 1999
In its First Amendment jurisprudence, the United States Supreme Court has construed very broadly the constitutional protection of free speech. Similarly democratic governments in Europe, however, have adopted laws restricting certain types of speech-particularly hate speech-based on the view that the human rights of oppressed groups cannot be protected fully if hate speech is permitted. In this Article, Professor Douglas-Scott examines the American approach and contrasts it with the rationale underpinning European, especially German, law. Focusing on hate speech and the denial of the Holocaust voiced largely by neo-Nazi and other right-wing groups, she argues that such speech poses problems for society that are not addressed most effectively by strict adherence to unfettered free expression.
Keywords: First Amendment, European Convnetion on Human Rights, Human Rights, Freedom of expression, political philosophy, German law on freedom of expression
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