Is a Conservative Radio Hosts “Joke” about Hillary, Hate Speech, Free Speech or Inciting Violence?

Posted by Ruth O’Brien


When a conservative radio host “jokes” about shooting Democratic wanna-be contender Hillary Clinton, is this hate speech, inciting violence, and crossing a line if someone does it or gets caught trying?  Or is this free speech?

The best point of reference can be found in Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.’s upholding the socialist Eugene Debs’s conviction in 1919, Debs v. United States, 249 U.S. 211.

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About Ruth O'Brien

Professor Ruth O'Brien, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York (CUNY) & Honorary Unaffiliated Academic Book Series Editor for The Public Square, Princeton University Press & Heretical Thought, Oxford University Press, USA Last book: Out of Many, One: Obama & the Third American Political Tradition (U of Chicago 2013). Nickname: Professorette by Rush Limbaugh (see

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