The following was, I'm told by ADL headquarters, sent today to the Omaha World-Herald by Alan Potash, Director of the Plains States Regional Office of the Anti-Defamation League:
When I wrote to the Omaha World-Herald and said that "free speech does not extend to racist groups," I misspoke. Free speech can and should extend to such groups. However, extremist or racist speech is not and should not be protected where it incites imminent lawless action that is likely to occur. ADL has a long history of defending free speech and we stand by our deep commitment to this fundamental principle of democracy. See e.g., Responding to Extremist Speech.
I'm pleased to hear it, and I agree that speech -- whether extremist or racist or not -- that "incites imminent lawless action that is likely to occur" is unprotected under Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969). I'm pretty sure that very little of the speech discussed in the Omaha World-Herald editorial to which Mr. Potash's initial statement referred would qualify under this narrow Brandenburg exception. But if indeed the exception is read as narrowly as the Court has read it (see, for instance, Hess v. Indiana (1973)), then I have no disagreement with Mr. Potash's corrected position.
Related Posts (on one page):
- Anti-Defamation League Plains States Regional Director Corrects Statement on Free Speech:
- Anti-Defamation League Regional Director Asserts That "Freedom of Speech Does Not Extend to Racist Groups":