See also Law and jurisprudence, and Privacy and surveillance for Fourth Amendment issues.
Matal v. Tam, 582 U.S. _ (2017).
The USPTO denied a trademark application for a band named “The Slants”, following a federal law prohibiting trademarks that may “disparage… or bring… into contempt or disrepute” any “persons, living or dead”. The Supreme Court was having none of it:
We now hold that this provision violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. It offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the grounds that it expresses ideas that offend.
Justice Alito further writes, quoting Holmes,
Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express “the thought that we hate.”
Justice Kennedy, concurring separately, writes
A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all. The First Amendment does not entrust that power to the government’s benevolence. Instead, our reliance must be on the substantial safeguards of free and open discussion in a democratic society.
A firm denial that “hate speech” gets any special First Amendment exception.
Ken White, How To Spot And Critique Censorship Tropes In The Media’s Coverage Of Free Speech Controversies, May 19, 2015.
Predates Matal v. Tam, but still demolishes hate speech legends, the old “shouting fire in a crowded theater” cliche, and many other points.