Federal judge: Lawsuit against Andrew Anglin of 'Daily Stormer' can proceed, Nazi hate speech isn't protected


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/11/14/federal-judge-says-lawsuit-aga.html



(Refined later, but it doesn’t have the same ring.)


Yet another right-winger who doesn’t understand the First Amendment and is too much of a coward to take responsibility for his own words.


Nazi hate speech isn’t protected

That doesn’t appear to be what was decided at all. It looks like the decision was that harassment campaigns aren’t protected. Which is pretty status quo.


“Liberal, just like you!” concern troll worried that “the liberals” are worse than conservatives about free speech in 3…2…


Nazi hatespeech consistently devolves into harassment and uniformly leads to Nazis trying to kill people.

It ought to be illegal for that reason. It’s like firing guns into the air. The bullets have to come down.


Correct. The statement is still valid, though, since Nazi speech is essentially the utterance of violent threats.


Doesn’t mean it is though. Or that the topic was even addressed here. Looks like pretty routine alt right claim’s free speech protect everything they do. And the courts not buying it.

That doesn’t seem to be anything that was even addressed. Anglin seems to have argued that harassment campaigns count as protected speach the court didn’t buy that for obvious reasons.


I didn’t say it was addressed by the court – it focused on harassing and threatening speech, which is unprotected. Hence my statement that you were correct. I said Xeni’s larger characterisation of Nazi hate speech (or really any hate speech) as inherently containing threats is valid.

Care to argue past each-other on that one?


Nazis may be status quo, but that’s beside the point.


The headline implies, pretty heavily, that the court ruled hate speech unprotected.

It didn’t. And didn’t do anything novel at all. It just applied the existing status quo, threats and harassment are not protected speech under the 1st amendment. Threats and harassment already weren’t protected under the 1st amendment.

Its good news that this lawsuit can go forward. And the argument that hate speech is inherently made up of threats, harassing speech, and incitements to violence, all things that aren’t protected by the 1st amendment is probably a good one. And would work pretty well as part of a legal rubric for identifying hate speech were it illegal. But last I checked it didn’t have much currency in constitutional law. And this case doesn’t appear to have even addressed that topic.


It’s a BoingBoing headline. If you’re still taking them literally you haven’t been here long enough.

Its borderline status is what makes it interesting. I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes up in the case now that it’s going forward, especially if the plaintiff is operating on principle and wants to take the opportunity of the case to make a larger and timely point about the nature of Nazi speech.


The hard wonk usually stays out of news news (except for a certain writer) and that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t call out the egregious ones. The construction “Federal Judge:” is typically used to indicate a paraphrase or quote. Following that up with something as blunt as “hate speech isn’t protected” really strongly implies a ruling of that nature.

If you click through to the source article this was just a judge upholding a magistrate’s rejection of a request to dismiss, it’s just a reaffirmation of an existing ruling. There doesn’t seem to be anything baring Anglin from raising that same defense in the suit. And I’d be willing to bet he will.

If anything I think the alt-right’s particular take on the 1st amendment, and their attempts to qualify everything they do as protected/political speech, is probably going to backfire on them. Its hard to see it leading anywhere but that very definition of hate speech. These guys are about 2 steps away from arguing lynchings are protected political speech.

Maybe they think they can get their expansive idea of the 1st amendment validated? But then a lot of them seem to believe that the 1st amendment is invalid, or that it should be removed. And their whole posture on the thing is as bad faith as everything they do.


Technically the hed is correct. The “Federal judge:” part can be construed as referring to the ruling. Anglin’s harassing and threatening statements were “hate speech” in the broadest sense of the term (threats and malicious harassment are hateful acts, whomever they’re targetting) and were made by a Nazi.

But that aside, I’m not pretending the headline is anything other than the typical BB hyperbole most of us are used to by now. I’m not too concerned about it, especially since the article body clarifies things.




Disagree with that. I think you are trying to equivocate all speech by Nazis as violent threats. It is not.

Yes, Nazis are scum but not everything they say is a violent threat. Trying to categorically say that anything a person from a group says (even if they are generally nasty people) is legally incorrect, and a very fraught road to go down.

But hell yeah to prosecuting them for this harassment. They crossed the line and they deserve to face consequences for it, and for all speech that crosses the line.

I disagree with this, too. But I totally agree with prosecuting Nazis when they cross the line, as you say they inevitably do, with harassment.

With the calls to categorically restrict all speech by Nazis, perhaps we should just consider doing what Germany does and ban Nazis? I’m not sure it is any more constitutionally fraught than trying to categorically ban all of their speech as violent.


The ideology informing the speech is rooted in eliminationism by any practical definition. This is also why it’s thoroughly discredited and its speech is not due a reputable platform.


What do you even think a Nazi is?


Please, deplatform them. But that is different than claiming all of their speech is illegal.

I’m down with calling out Nazis as scum. But I’m not down with counter factual claims about speech, such as claiming all Nazi speech is violent threats. When a scumbag Nazi says “Would you like fries with that?” it’s not a violent threat. When they intimate threats, and I think being a Nazi can expand the range of language that is a threat beyond what might be threatening when said by people who aren’t racist scum, then their speech can be called violent.