Monday, March 17, 2014

Hate crime or freedom of speech?

As three freshmen kicked out of their fraternity await a ruling from the University of Mississippi’s judicial council, a public debate has arisen as to whether the act of hanging a noose and an old Georgia flag on the James Meredith statue on campus is protected by the First Amendment.

Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity kicked the three out, and the national headquarters has suspended the chapter pending a full investigation of how such members made it through the recruitment process.

The line between free speech and hate speech is blurry in places, according to some legal experts.

“There’ve been volumes written by judges about where that line is, and there’s not a hard and fast line to say, ‘This is protected and this is not,’” said former Supreme Court Justice George Carlson of Batesville.

Last week, officials said there didn’t seem to be a law that would categorize the act as a crime. On Friday, the FBI said it would be taking over the investigation to see if there were any grounds for a federal charge.



Anonymous said...

Stupid yes, I crime NO. Everyone is too sensitive these days.

Disillusioned said...

In order to consider what action should be taken simply revere the racial roles and see if the same decision would be made.

Disillusioned said...

Reverse not revere

Anonymous said...

I hate to point out the obvious but...

"Hate speech" IS free speech: The U.S. Supreme Court stated the general rule regarding protected speech in Texas v. Johnson (109 S.Ct. at 2544), when it held: "The government may not prohibit the verbal or nonverbal expression of an idea merely because society finds the idea offensive or disagreeable."

Federal courts have consistently followed this. Said Virginia federal district judge Claude Hilton: "The First Amendment does not recognize exceptions for bigotry, racism, and religious intolerance or ideas or matters some may deem trivial, vulgar or profane."