Howard Dean Claims 'Hate Speech' Isn't Protected by the First Amendment. The Constitution Disagrees.

| APR 21, 2017 | 2:36 PM
Howard Dean

Joe Raedle /Getty Images

Former Gov. Howard Dean (D-VT) is back in the news. What this generally means is that Dean has said something unintentionally humorous, controversial, or wrong.

In this case, it appears to be the latter.

Dean's latest foray into the headlines began after a New York Times reporter tweeted about the controversy at Berkeley surrounding the “scheduled-then-cancelled-then-rescheduled-on-a-different-date” speech by conservative firebrand Ann Coulter:

Greenhouse's reference was to a 2006 comment Coulter made to a New York Observer reporter while talking about terrorist attacks in New York City.

Howard responded to Greenhouse with his “legal” opinion of Coulter's often incendiary rhetoric:

“'Legal' opinion,” only if Howard is aware of a rare exception in the First Amendment, which multiple sources, including The Los Angeles Times, are not.

While the First Amendment does not protect all forms of speech, so-called “hate speech” appears to be one form that it does. HG-org Legal Services lists seven unprotected categories. Thresholds exist for several of them.

  • Fighting words
  • Obscenity
  • Child pornography
  • Libel and slander
  • Crimes involving speech
  • Threats
  • Conduct regulations
  • Commercial speech

Some of Howard's “fans” caught his tweet — and were quick to respond:

Incidentally, after Berkeley officials rescheduled Coulter's appearance, she vowed on Thursday to show up on the date originally scheduled — April 27.

Regardless of what Howard Dean thinks.

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