I blog at the Washington Post site, and I’m writing something about the ACLU statement on “White Supremacist Violence is Not Free Speech.” Of course, violence of any sort isn’t free speech, but I’m wondering what the ACLU’s position is on the proposals to revoke the “alt right” rally permit in Northern California, and similar calls to ban such events. Can you tell me, please, if the statement is meant to address that, and what the ACLU’s position on that would be?
This is what we have to offer for now. We will circle back with you if anything changes.
We agree with every word in the statement from our colleagues in California. The First Amendment absolutely does not protect white supremacists seeking to incite or engage in violence. We condemn the views of white supremacists, and fight against them every day. At the same time, we believe that even odious hate speech, with which we vehemently disagree, garners the protection of the First Amendment when expressed non-violently. We make decisions on whom we’ll represent and in what context on a case-by-case basis. The horrible events in Charlottesville last weekend will certainly inform those decisions going forward.