Journal of Free Speech Law: “The Story of Beauharnais v. Illinois,” by Prof. Samantha Barbas (Buffalo)
Just published as the first article in volume 2, issue 2 of the Journal of Free Speech Law, and available here; here’s the Introduction:
What harms are caused by hate speech? How can we assess those harms? Does hate speech lead to violence? Do racial, ethnic, and religious groups have reputations that can be injured? Do the benefits of hate speech laws outweigh the harms that might be caused by restricting speech?
Americans grappled with these questions since the early twentieth century, which saw the first calls for “hate speech” laws. Advocates of those laws championed them as essential to promoting social order, civility, and civil rights, while critics denounced them as vague, ineffective, and possibly unconstitutional. The passage of hate speech laws in states and municipalities during the World War II era did little to resolve the debate.
The uncertain First Amendment status of hate speech laws loomed large in the late 1940s as the Supreme Court expanded protections for offensive speech in a series of landmark cases.
Article from Reason.com