Washington University Law Quarterly
Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, fighting words, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, first amendment
It is now settled that "above all else, the first amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content." Despite the universal acceptance of this general principle, the United States Supreme Court has created several exceptions. In appropriate cases libel, obscenity, commercial speech, and offensive language may be censored without contravention of the first amendment guarantee of freedom of expression. The source of each of these exceptions to the general principle of governmental neutrality regarding the content of expression is Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire.
Stephen W. Gard, Fighting Words as Free Speech, 58 Washington University Law Quarterly 531 (1980)