Why Does the First Amendment Protect Hate Speech?

Posted on 11/12/2018 9:23:52 AM

As part of IUP’s “Year of Free Speech” Vic Walczak, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, will explain how the First Amendment’s protection of speech has been interpreted by federal courts to protect hate speech, and explain the justification of protecting hate speech offered by the courts and others. Walczak will speak on Tuesday, November 13, at 7:00 p.m. in the Humanities and Social Sciences building, room 225.

Walczak served as executive director of the Pittsburgh chapter of the ACLU for 13 years before assuming his current position as state-wide legal director for ACLU Pennsylvania in 2004. His extensive litigation experience includes representing the First Amendment speech and religious liberty rights of scores of Pennsylvanians in both state and federal courts.

A sampling of the cases involving expression rights that he’s personally handled include: protecting the right to protest the president, as well as to protest at the 2009 G20 Summit in Pittsburgh; fighting to protect the right of the Ku Klux Klan to hold a rally in Pittsburgh; litigating on behalf of high school students who had been punished by school officials for off-campus speech; and seeking to quash a subpoena that would have required Twitter to identify users who had criticized the governor.

Department of Political Science