Words which by their very utterance inflict injury

Source: The Atlantic
by Conor Friedersdorf

“College students seeking to suppress or punish speech in their communities are the latest iteration of a longer tradition in American life than many of their critics acknowledge. That’s true even narrowing our backward gaze to Supreme Court cases from the last century. During World War II, for instance, the case of Chaplinsky vs. State of New Hampshire considered whether the municipality of Rochester had, by arresting Walter Chaplinsky, a Jehovah’s Witness, for his speech, violated his rights. … ‘There are certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which has never been thought to raise any Constitutional problem,’ the majority opinion stated. ‘These include the lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous, and the insulting or ‘fighting’ words — those which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.'” (04/19/17)