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Think Out Loud

What Are The Limits Of Free Speech?

Allison Frost/OPB

When is hate speech simply repugnant — but protected under the fundamental right of free speech — and when does it cross the line to incitement to violence? That was a question we wondered about following the Yik Yak comments that preceded an apparently racially motivated attack on the campus of Lewis & Clark college, and after the fatal attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, and other incidents apparently involving hateful speech.

We talk to Willamette Law School constitutional scholar, Norman Williams about the definition of hate speech, the limits of free speech, and what the U.S. Supreme Court considers “incitement.”


  • Norman Williams: Associate dean of academic affairs at Willamette University School of Law and director of the Center for Constitutional Government
free speech hate speech incitement violence higher education

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