The First Amendment prevents Congress from passing any laws that abridge the freedom of speech. But what does that actually mean? In this presentation, professor Meg Mott considers the history of speech laws in the United States, how states and municipalities have tried to curb offensive speech, and how the Supreme Court has ruled on those efforts.
She’ll also discuss how speech fits into the life cycle of our democracy. While some argue that limits on speech are necessary for marginalized persons to feel welcome in the public sphere, others argue that the criminalization of speech serves the needs of the penal state more than the general public.
All arguments are welcome as we make full use of our reasoning powers to bring the First Amendment to life!