The ACLU is Turning its Back on Free Speech
America's premier civil-rights group gets cold feet about hate speech.
The speech-case guidelines reflect a demotion of free speech in the ACLU's hierarchy of values. Their vague references to the 'serious harm' to 'marginalised' people occasioned by speech can easily include the presumed psychological effects of racist or otherwise hateful speech, which is constitutionally protected but contrary to ACLU values. Faced with perceived conflicts between freedom of speech and 'progress toward equality', the ACLU is likely to choose equality. If the Supreme Court adopted the ACLU's balancing test, it would greatly expand government power to restrict speech.