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Howard Dean doubles down on 'hate speech isn't protected' claims — then it backfires big time

Howard Dean doubles down on claim that "hate speech" isn't protected by First Amendment. (Jamie Rose/Getty Images)

On Thursday, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) came under fire when he claimed that "hate speech" isn't protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

"Hate speech is not protected by the first amendment," Dean tweeted Thursday.

His tweet came in response to a former New York Times reporter who tweeted a quote from conservative commentator Ann Coulter, who allegedly once said that her "only regret" with Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh is that "he did not go to the New York Times building."

Of course, the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment protects the rights of free speech, religious freedom, press rights, petition rights and assembly rights with very minor and small restrictions.

"Hate speech," however, has never been decided by the Supreme Court as a reasonable restriction to the First Amendment. "Hate speech" is illegal in many other countries across the globe, but not so in the U.S.

Still, that didn't stop Dean from doubling down on his comments Friday, where he argued that a Supreme Court case from 1942 � Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire � proves the First Amendment doesn't protect "hate speech."

"For WAPO and others raising issues about hate speech not being constitutionally protected, read "Chaplinsky v New Hampshire SCOTUS 1942," Dean tweeted late Friday.

That case, which established the "fighting words doctrine," found that "some forms of expression�among them obscenity and fighting words�do not convey ideas and thus are not subject to First Amendment protection. In this case, Chaplinsky uttered fighting words, i.e., words that 'inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace,'" according to

The court case, however, didn't address "hate speech" like Dean claims and Twitter was quick to inform him of this fact, many of them lawyers and legal experts.

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