Sen. Ben Cardin said that those who “espouse hate” should not be protected by the First Amendment. Cardin also called on the federal government to be “more aggressive” while combating hate speech.
Cardin is the chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), aka the Helsinki Commission.
In early December, Cardin, as well as Senators James Lankford and Jackie Rosen, sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging a “unified national strategy against anti-semitism.”
In a Helsinki Commission hearing held on Dec. 13, titled “The Alarming Rise of Anti-Semitism and Its Threat to Democracy,” Cardin said: “If you espouse hate, if you espouse violence, you’re not protected under the First Amendment.”
“So I think we can be more aggressive in the way that we handle that type of use of the internet,” he added. “We know that Europe has done things, I think that we can learn from each other.”
Cardin recently reposted a clip of those remarks on Twitter and wrote: “Our first amendment is one of the defining jewels of this country/ It is NOT a free pass to spew violent rhetoric.”
After many users noted the inaccuracy of his statement, Cardin posted a longer clip, writing:
“For those interested, here is a longer version of the video referencing hate speech from our recent hearing.
“Hate speech is protected under the #FirstAmendment, unless it incites violence. #context.”