Howard Dean’s new excuse for censoring Ann Coulter: She incites violence

Source: Reason
by Jacob Sullum

“Last week [Howard] Dean … said it was OK for a public university to cancel Coulter’s talk because ‘hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment.’ … having been informed that ‘hate speech’ is not a constitutionally relevant category, Dean started citing Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, the 1942 case in which the Supreme Court upheld the criminalization of ‘fighting words,’ in-person insults that ‘tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace’ by provoking a violent response from the target. As I noted yesterday, neither of the Coulter quotations cited by Dean remotely resembles the Supreme Court’s definition of fighting words. Yesterday Dean decided his real point was not that Coulter’s remarks qualify as ‘hate speech’ or that they amount to ‘fighting words’ but (as I predicted) that they constitute ‘incitement to violence,’ which ‘is not protected.’ That issue, Dean informs us, ‘has been litigated multiple times.’ Once again Dean is making shit up to give his censorious impulses a sheen of constitutional legitimacy.” (04/25/17)