Writing at Public Discourse (of which I am the managing editor), Hadley Arkes criticizes conservatives and liberals and defends the notion that communities can define standards of speech. Balancing individual rights and communal interest is always difficult (see Russell Arben Fox), but Professor Arkes makes a convincing case that the conservatives on the Supreme Court are striking the wrong balance:
The editors of the Wall Street Journal pronounced Phelps and his band “scoundrels,” their message “despicable.” And yet the translation was made again: The editors seem inclined to think Phelps nevertheless had a “right” to engage in despicable performative acts because there are no grounds on which the law can really discriminate between the “despicable” and the “unlikable.”
But the law was not always thought to be so wanting in the standards of judgment, and the judges expounding the law were not compelled to absorb, ever more deeply with each case, the premises of moral relativism…
The rest is here.