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U of M expert Ed Schiappa says the Supreme Court does not want the government to make decisions about what counts as hateful speech.

The cure for bad speech is more speech, not censorship, U of M expert says

March 3, 2011

The debate continues to rage over the United States Supreme Court’s decision yesterday to allow the Westboro Baptist Church’s funeral protests. Why can’t we ban hateful speech and what do politicians who disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision hope to accomplish?

A University of Minnesota free speech expert who can comment on hate speech and the politics surrounding it:

Edward Schiappa, professor, Department of Communication Studies, College of Liberal Arts


Schiappa says the Supreme Court does not want the government to make decisions about what counts as hateful speech. “That is why the decision was 8-1,” Schiappa says. “Conservatives and liberals on the court agree the First Amendment is core. The cure for bad speech is more speech, not censorship.”

He adds that it is “politics as usual” to decry a Supreme Court decision. “It’s an easy target because the public in general has very little understanding of constitutional law,” Schiappa says.

Schiappa has published a number of articles on Supreme Court decisions and provided testimony to the United States Congress concerning the Texas v. Johnson flag burning case decision of 1989. He conducts research in argumentation, classical rhetoric, media influence and contemporary rhetorical theory. His current research explores the scope and function of rhetorical studies, including the relationship between rhetorical theory and critical media studies.

To interview Schiappa, contact Jeff Falk at (612) 626-1720 or jfalk@umn.edu.

Expert Alert is a service provided by the University News Service. Delivered regularly, Expert Alert is designed to connect university experts to today's breaking news and current events. For an archive and other useful media services, visit umn.edu/news. Views expressed by experts do not represent the views of the University of Minnesota.

Tags: College of Liberal Arts

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