Duquesne Law Review


Kenneth Lasson


The first amendment guarantee of free speech is virtually absolute; the exceptions are few and narrow in scope. In recent years there has been growing support for the restriction of racial defamation - speech which works to deny the freedom, dignity and humanity of an entire people. The author examines the validity of this proposed exception, in the process comparing the civil liberties enjoyed by American citizens to those enjoyed in Sweden, where defamation is not constitutionally protected. Noting that a Nazi demonstration like that which was planned in Skokie, Illinois, would not be tolerated in the streets of Stockholm, the author suggests that such symbolic speech contributes nothing to the "marketplace of ideas" and questions the wisdom of granting it first amendment protection.

First Page


Included in

Law Commons