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Low Value Speech and Public and Political Discourse Short Course

In the 1940’s case of Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, the Supreme Court indicated that there are some categories of speech that are of less value than others because they “are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality.”  This course will examine the categories of arguably low level speech such as profanity, falsity, insulting words, and commercial speech in the contexts of asking the broader question of whether some types of speech can or should be considered of lesser value than other types of speech under the First Amendment; and conversely, whether fully protecting arguably low level speech (as the Court has done in cases since Chaplinsky) has only served to demean public and political discourse in a manner that, in the end, has been hostile to the goals that the First Amendment is purported to serve? Pass/Fail [1]