Contributions by ‘James Weinstein’

Hate Speech Bans, Democracy, and Political Legitimacy

In this Article I will argue that in some instances upstream restrictions on hate speech are so severe that they not only diminish but can potentially annihilate the legitimacy of downstream antidiscrimination laws.[20] Specifically, I will discuss the potential of these speech restrictions to destroy any political obligation of those restrained by these laws to obey the downstream antidiscrimination measures. Much more problematically, hate speech restrictions can render immoral the otherwise appropriate application of antidiscrimination laws to dissenters in cases involving competing fundamental interests such as religious liberty. And even in cases where these speech restrictions do not annihilate the legitimacy of these antidiscrimination laws, they can so profoundly diminish their legitimacy as to leave us with something very much to regret. This unfortunate effect on the legitimacy of antidiscrimination laws, in turn, tells strongly against the propriety of hate speech restrictions in a free and democratic society.

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