The free speech clause of the First Amendment gives the right to speak freely, but it certainly does not give one the right to violate someone else’s rights and freedom of religion. Violating other people’s rights means for no respect and having no dignity. And disrespecting other people with offensive speech or slurs may cause greater arguments that may lead to abrupt disputes and even chaos among some people of the USA. Freedom didn’t come free, because it’s a privilege; it had the blood of those warriors who fought to protect our nation to create a sanctuary that is as peaceful as heavens for everyone who live the USA. The free speech clause of the First Amendment should not protect offensive speech. Some of the examples of how offensive speech shouldn’t be protected by the First Amendment can be followed by short court cases like “The First Amendment Protects Offensive Trademarks,” Schenck v. US, Brandbury v. Ohio and Snyder v. Phelps.
“In Matal v. Tam, the U.S. Supreme Court held the disparagement clause of the federal trademark law, known as the Lanham Act, violates the Freed Speech Clause of the First Amendment because the government may not regulate speech.” (Matal v. Tam, P.2). The trademark law started in 1946, and Tam wanted to register the name “The Slants” for his rock band with all Asian Americans in it. The government also cancelled the six of the “Redskins trademarks registrations due to high use of negative talk. If the trademarks that are used by a rock band or even if a company targets a certain group of people racially or religiously, then it is right for the government to shut down any derogatory talk with the right form of law. Negative talk kills the notion of living freely.
In Tam’s case, Justice Neil Grousch “unanimously agreed that the disparagement clause violates The First Amendment because it targets derogatory expressions with intent to discourage its use, while allowing registration of the words and marks that are positive and benign.” (Mata v. Tam, P.2). It had been also said that the “laws that discriminate based on a particular viewpoint or idea must survive First Amendment scrutiny unless the regulate government speech, and trademark registrations are private.” (Matal v.Tam, P.3). Even though trademark registration is a private thing, it also has a way of connecting with the public, because people are the one who are adapting to the certain lifestyle that is given by the trademark or a company. “Profanity sexual images and other vulgar terms and symbols are protected under the First Amendment—except for obscene speech—and can offend some consumers.”(Matal v.Tam)
Other justices like Justice Anthony Kennedy with Justices Ruth, Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Stotmayor and Elena Kagan agreed that “disparagement clause must be subjected to rigorous constitutional scrutiny because it continues viewpoint-discrimination.” (Matal v. Tam, P.3). Furthermore, the court “emphasized that it must exercise great caution before extending our government-speech precedents.” (Matal v. Tam). Tam was a highly important for the court, because all of the justices agreed that it needs a proper constitutional review to balance the trademark for the right of expressions. Tam clarifies the argument that the trademark laws that discourage the use of protected expression should go through the First Amendment scrutiny.
In another case, Schenck was pronounced guilty for three counts against the government for violating “the Espionage Act of June 15, 1971 by causing and attempting to cause insubordination in the military and naval forces of the United States, and to obstruct the recruiting and enlistment services of the United States, when the United states was at war with the German Empire, to-wit, that the defendants willfully conspired to have printed and circulated to men who had been called and accepted for military services under the Act of May 18, 1917.” (Schenck v.US, P.1). When there were fewer soldiers to defend our country during WWI, then it is the duty of our public to protect that country by all means. Drafting people from public was necessary, if it wasn’t for that, we wouldn’t be living in a free country like we live today. Everything has a cost—even freedom. Tears, sweat and blood are the prices that people have to pay to attain freedom. Schenck was a general secretary of the Socialist party that sent the documents to the draftees to stop serving for military. Schenck described that the “book found there as the minutes of the Executive Committee of the party. The book showed a resolution of August 13. 1917, that 15,000 leaflets should be printed on the other side of one of the in use, to be mailed to men who had passed exemption beards and for distribution.” (Schenk v. US, P.1). Words have lot of meaning, and they should be spoken carefully. “Every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.” (Schenck v. US, P.2). No one has the right to create groups of people who are willing enough to go against the idea of freedom of this country.
Similarly, “the clear and present danger” is also found in the Branenburg v. Ohio case, where the leader of Ku Klux Klan was convicted for assembling together the members of his organization to talk rubbish about Negroes and Jews of our country, and also to say that the President, Congress and Supreme Court should stop suppressing whites, otherwise the organization will become revengeance. It is described that there were two films showed on the national television. “One film showed 12 hooded figures, some of whom carried firearms. They were gathered around a large wooden cross, which they burned. Furthermore, they “scattered phrases could be understood that were derogatory of Negroes and in one instance, of Jews.” (Brandenburg v. Ohio, P.1). The second film showed where there were “6 hooded figures one of whom, later identified as the appellant,” said “Personally, I believe the nigger should be returned to Africa and Jews should return to Israel, though some of the figures carried weapons.” (Brandenburg v. Ohio, P.2)
The Ohio Criminal Syndicalism was created in 1919. The act punishes people who “advocate or teach the duty, necessity or propriety of violence as means if accomplishing industrial or political reform, or publish or circulate or display any book or paper containing such advocacy; or who “justify” the commission of violent acts” (Brandendburg v. Ohio, P.2). The idea of freedom of speech is taken very wrongly by people. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean that it is right to teach violence and create groups that go against the government and the people who are helping to make this country better every day, because these are all acts of nuisances against a sovereign society.
In Snyder v. Phelps case, Maine Lance Matthew Snyder was killed in Iraq while on duty, and his father chose Catholic Church in Lance Corporal Snyder’s hometown of Westminister, Maryland for his funeral. Fred Phelps, the founder of Westboro Baptist Church became aware of the situation that Lance Corporal Matthew’s funeral was taking place in Maryland. Phelps was known to picket outside soldiers’ funeral to pull a publicity stunts. Phelps with his six parishioners decided to picket outside Lance Corporal Mathew Snyder’s funeral. It states that Westboro picketers held signs on Corporal Mathew Synder’s funeral like “God hates the USA/Thank God for 9/11, America is Doomed, Don’t Pray for the USA, Thank God for IEDs, Thank God for Dead Soldiers, Pope in Hell, Priests Rape Boys, God Hates Fags, You’re Going to Hell and God Hates You.” (Snyder v. Phelps, P.1).The picketers started to sing hymns and recited Bible verses. Mathew’s father Lance Corporal Snyder saw the picketers in the news, so he decided to file a law suit against Phelps, and his daughters who supported him in the picketing.
“The district court awarded Westboro summary judgment on Snyder’s claims for defamation and publicity given to private life, concluding that Snyder could not prove the necessary elements of those torts.” (Snyder v. Phelps, P.2) Snyder gets physically ill, tearful and angry when he thinks about the situation as to what has happened with his dead son. The court “held Westboro liable for $2.9 million in the compensatory damages and $8 million in the punitive damages. The disctrict court remitted the punitive damages award to 2.1 million.” (Snyder v. Phelps. P.2). Even though the First amendment fully protects the Westboro picketing, but still no one should have the write to make derogatory remarks on someone else private funerals, that’s not promoting the idea of living free. After all, soldiers die in the line of duty to protect our freedom.
“The Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech can serve as a defense in the state of tort suits including suits of international infliction of emotional distress.” (Snyder v. Phelps. P. 3). The concept of freedom of speech cannot be taken loosely, because derogatory talk can make others take actions, which can create unnecessary chaos. People who serve this country are like parents who work hard to support their children, just like that are the soldiers of our country, who bled for us to be living free. Derogatory talk not only makes the worst of environment, but certainly may make the worst of this country. Our country should be clean, clear and free from any political, religious, or racial negative talk or slurs, and those are the key ingredients of living in the free America.