Anti-Profanity Laws and the First Amendment

7 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2018

Date Written: Spring 2017


The essay first examines several current state laws that prohibit profanity under certain circumstances. It then details a few recent cases in which individuals were convicted for uttering profanity. The next section explains how profanity can be a part of an unprotected category of speech, such as fighting words, true threats, or harassment. Finally, the essay examines whether such laws and cases comport with First Amendment principles.

Keywords: Anti-profanity laws, free speech, First Amendment, protected speech

Suggested Citation

Hudson, David L., Anti-Profanity Laws and the First Amendment (Spring 2017). 42 T. Marshall L. Rev. 203 (2017).; Belmont University College of Law Research Paper No. 2018-39. Available at SSRN:

David L. Hudson (Contact Author)

Belmont University - College of Law ( email )

1900 Belmont Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37212
United States

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