Thursday, May 13, 2021
Fourth Circuit Overturns Conviction Of Retired Air Force Colonel For Using Racial Slur – JONATHAN TURLEY
It is never popular to fight for the free speech rights of individuals like Bartow. Indeed, after being quoted in a Washington Post article in favor of this ruling last night, I received emails denouncing me as a de facto racist, including one from an attorney condemning me for “defending bigotry under the guise of constitutional freedom.” It is a common attack on free speech advocates to claim that we defend bigotry as opposed to free speech in such cases. The “guise of constitutional freedom” is in fact the First Amendment’s protection of unpopular speech. Indeed, Justice Thurgood Marshall famously declared in Police Dep’t of Chi. v. Mosley, 408 U.S. 92, 95 (1972), that the “government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content.”
Bartow is the price we pay for freedom of speech but it is not nearly as high of a cost as abandoning the bright line protecting us all for criminal speech codes.
Here is the opinion: United States v. Bartow