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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | U.S. | Government & Elections | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice
ACLU of California Statement: White Supremacist Violence is Not Free Speech
The First Amendment should never be used as a shield or sword to justify violence.
August 16, 2017
Our country’s greatest strengths are the diversity of its people and the principles of equal dignity and inclusion that unite us all. There are troubling events planned in our state in the coming weeks. This is an incredibly painful and difficult time for millions of Californians.
For those who are wondering where we stand – the ACLU of California fully supports the freedom of speech and expression, as well as the freedom to peacefully assemble. We review each request for help on a case-by-case basis, but take the clear position that the First Amendment does not protect people who incite or engage in violence.
If white supremacists march into our towns armed to the teeth and with the intent to harm people, they are not engaging in activity protected by the United States Constitution. The First Amendment should never be used as a shield or sword to justify violence.
- Abdi Soltani, Executive Director of the ACLU of Northern California
- Hector Villagra, Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California
- Norma Chávez-Peterson, Executive Director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties
ACLU National posted the attached statement as an image on Twitter:
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.