CNN’s Chris Cuomo Doesn’t Understand The Constitution

Alex Griswold Media Reporter
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Before becoming co-host of CNN’s “New Day,” Chris Cuomo served as ABC’s chief law and justice correspondent and obtained a law degree from Fordham. But apparently, he needs to brush up on his First Amendment case law. (VIDEO: CNN Host Blames Military Veterans For Baltimore Riots)

When prompted on Twitter, Cuomo said that hate speech was not protected by the Constitution.

Cuomo is entirely wrong. First, there is nothing in the text of the Constitution that says hate speech is not protected. The text of the First Amendment simply reads “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech.” Any restrictions on that right stem from case law, not the text.

In any case, the Supreme Court has ruled over, and over, and over again that hate speech is protected speech. But Cuomo doubled down, by childishly tweeting over and over again the word “Chaplinsky” :


But again, Cuomo is wrong. The Court ruled unanimously in Chaplinksy v. New Hampshire that “fighting words” — not hate speech — are not constitutionally protected. That isn’t a technical difference; they are completely different things. (RELATED: NPR’s Ombudsman Is A Drooling Moron Who Doesn’t Understand The First Amendment)

Fighting words are words that are intended to or are very likely to incite violence or inflict violence. Getting in a drunk patron’s face, flipping the bird and singing “Hail to the Victors” in an Ohio State bar might be fighting words … but it isn’t hate speech. Spreading anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial on the Internet might be hate speech, but they aren’t illegal “fighting words.”

Finally, Cuomo tweeted the following:

…which is almost literally the exact opposite of what his initial tweet said.

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