Sheldon H. Nahmod: Breakdown of the Constitution, Free Speech and Hate Speach.

Sheldon H. Nahmod: Professor of Law

Sheldon H. Nahmod, in his series titled “Know Your Constitution”, contributes an article to this chain of posts that deals with the First Amendment and hate speech. He begins by focusing on the part of the First Amendment dealing with freedom of speech.

“Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Next, Nahmod gives the reader three take-away’s from this phrase. One: the First Amendment protects us from the government and does not apply to private matters. Two: the First Amendment is not absolute. Three: freedom of speech has costs.

According to Nahmod the First Amendment keeps the government neutral when dealing with speech, never taking one side or the other. This allows society to create a marketplace of ideas in which everyone is entitled to a say. The Supreme Court has concluded that hate speech is just another idea. Therefore, hate speech is protected. If the government chose to regulate hate speech then they would have to take sides on the issue, meaning it would no longer be neutral.

Citation: Nahmod, Sheldon H. “Know Your Constitution (5): Free Speech and Hate Speech.” Nahmod Law., 04 Dec. 2013. Web. 18 Apr. 2015. <>.


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