Defending Speech We Hate
June 17, 2021
Over the years, the ACLU’s commitment to the First Amendment has come under attack – both for the cases we take on and for those we don’t. At the ACLU, we are committed to protecting free speech for all – not just those with whom we agree. And that commitment can come into tension with the other work we do defending civil rights and civil liberties.
In this episode, we are pulling the curtain back on our history of defending free speech, on the choices we make, and on the conversations that went into those choices. For this episode, we are handing the mic to At Liberty’s former host and current ACLU free speech attorney Emerson Sykes. He speaks with former ACLU Executive Director Aryeh Neier, who led the organization during the controversial time in the 1970s when the ACLU defended the rights of Neo Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois. They address how a multi-issue organization can balance defending the rights of free speech even as it defends the other rights and liberties guaranteed in the constitution.