30 minutes | Jan 31, 2018

Fighting Words

On April 6, 1940, a Jehovah's Witness named Walter Chaplinsky was arrested for yelling, “You are a God damned racketeer and a damned Fascist and the whole government of Rochester are Fascists or agents of Fascists” at a Rochester, New Hampshire police officer.  The confrontation launched the case Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, which made it all the way to the Supreme Court.  The Court ruled against Chaplinsky, articulating an exception to the First Amendment for so-called “fighting words.”
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