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I have a write-up entitled "Saturday Night Live Syndrome". That write-up by itself includes a pretty good rebuttal of the idea that the infringing of rights is a new discovery. Depending on the time and place in the United States, insulting language would have had much worse legal or extralegal consequences than a 429 dollar fine.

To deal with this case specifically, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that fighting words are not a protected class of speech. What constitutes fighting words is probably something that different legal scholars could debate endlessly about. But in any case, the category does exist. If you make a threat to someone, that is called assault. (Assault and battery is what happens when you carry through on the threat). If you use speech that is violent, loud, abusive and otherwise signaling that you are likely to commit violence about someone, but without an explicit threat, that is called fighting words or harassment.

In this particular case, the man was not, as far as I can tell, ticketed for expressing an opinion. He was ticketed for disturbing the peace, which makes me think that his opinion was expressed at such a volume or in such a way that it hinted at violence to those around him. Whether or not this is the case is why we have a court system, but according to accepted constitutional law, words that hint at violence are not protected.

In other words, the facts of this case and the theory of the law are not as exceptional as the above poster makes it seem. This is not the result of some Political Correctness police undermining a previously inviolate constitutional right to free speech. This is an example of a police officer citing a man who is being abusive and borderline violent, in a way that is ordained by both a long held interpretation of the First Amendment and common sense.

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