Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Right to Insult

This ruling makes sense from a fee speech, first amendment perspective, but you have to ask why those who wrote the law would go so far as to include "insults". Insult? First, you have the absolute right to insult anyone you want to, and they can insult you back, and second, it's all subjective. How many times has someone been "insulted" by what someone said, when the person saying it did not intent any insult at all.

The South Carolina Supreme Court struck down a state law on Tuesday that prohibited "the making of obscene remarks or such remarks and actions as would humiliate, insult, or scare any person." The court ruled, quite rightly, that the statute was overly broad and a violation of the First Amendment. You can read the full ruling here.

The case involved an anti-gay preacher on a public sidewalk railing against the mythical evils of homosexuality. At one point three women walked by him and he told them, "Faggots, you will burn in hell." He was arrested, convicted and that conviction upheld. Now it has been reversed because the statute was struck down by the state's highest court.

SC Court Strikes Down Speech Code

1 comment:

  1. I hope they at least make it legal one day to open-hand smack someone who is shouting in public.


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