University of Alabama Student Expelled for Racist Instagram Rant

Eugene Volokh:

Now no-one can confuse the video with a thoughtful argument. If empty hostility like this vanished from American life (perhaps through some magical transfusion of decency and good judgment), the nation would be a better place.

But there’s a practical reason that the First Amendment forbids expelling university students for saying such things — or for that matter saying that they hate fucking Americans or Israelis, or love Hitler or Stalin or Mao or Che or whoever else. The last several years have made clear what the preceding decades should have shown as well: Attempts to punish people for their views aren’t going to be neatly cabined just to the extreme.

Condemnations of illegal immigration, of the Black Lives Matter movement, of affirmative action, of Israel, and of a wide range of other things are routinely excoriated as racist or anti-Semitic. Some such excoriation may be factually accurate in some instances; but it means that, if supposedly racist speech can be suppressed, then any expression of such views risks being suppressed as well.