Most speech, hateful or not, is protected by the Constitution. To pretend otherwise is foolhardy.
America is awash in ugly, hateful speech. White nationalists march defiantly, and their slogans are echoed in murderous rampages. Government officials revel in disparaging the very people they patrol. Many people—and I’m one of them—argue that the president’s rhetoric encourages this grotesque and shameful state of affairs even as he nominally condemns it. This has all led to more discussion about free speech and its limits.
What speech should be protected by the First Amendment is open to debate. Americans can, and should, argue about what the law ought to be. That’s what free people do. But while we’re all entitled to our own opinions, we’re not entitled to our own facts, even in 2019. In fact, the First Amendment is broad, robust, aggressively and consistently protected by the Supreme Court, and not subject to the many exceptions and qualifications that commentators seek to graft upon it. The majority of contemptible, bigoted speech is protected.