Democrat US Senator Admits He Was Wrong About the First Amendment

Democrat US Senator Admits He Was Wrong About the First Amendment

( – The First Amendment bars the government from abridging the right to free speech, freedom of the press, assembly, and the ability to petition the government. However, Democratic Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) recently admitted he made an incorrect statement regarding hate speech and its relationship to citizens’ freedom of speech during a US Helsinki Commission hearing.

On December 28, Sen. Cardin claimed that individuals supporting hatred and violence don’t enjoy First Amendment protections. He also suggested the government needs to take a more “aggressive” response to hateful internet posts.

Several prominent journalists like the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald and National Review contributor Claude Thompson aptly pointed out the First Amendment protects all speech.

The following day, Cardin posted a tweet walking back his remarks. He conceded the First Amendment protects hate speech “unless it incites violence.” However, the accompanying clip appeared to contradict his remark. “If you espouse hate… you’re not protected under the First Amendment,” he stated, basically repeating his other remark.

The Supreme Court has consistently held that hateful, divisive speech is protected unless it incites or promotes imminent lawless action or violence. Most recently, the panel unanimously ruled there isn’t a “hate speech” exception to America’s constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech in Matal v. Tam (2017).

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