A Right to Speak to Those Who Don’t Want to Listen

In a unanimous 9-0 verdict, the justices reminded us that there is a right to utter unwelcome speech, up close, to people who don’t want to listen: “It is no accident that public streets and sidewalks have developed as venues for the exchange of ideas,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court. “Even today,” he added, “they remain one of the few places where a speaker can be confident that he is not simply preaching to the choir. With respect to other means of communication, an individual confronted with an uncomfortable message can always turn the page, change the channel, or leave the Web site. Not so on public streets and sidewalks. There, a listener often encounters speech he might otherwise tune out. In light of the First Amendment’s purpose to preserve an uninhibited marketplace of ideas in which truth will ultimately prevail, this aspect of traditional public fora is a virtue, not a vice.”

via A Right to Speak to Those Who Don’t Want to Listen | The Indypendent.

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