Phi Beta Cons

Man Bites Dog

Some judges in California have gotten something right. Unanimously. Over on the Volokh Conspiracy, law professor David Bernstein comments on a decision by the California Supreme Court that may have some positive, if indirect, repercussions for free speech on campus. Bernstein explains:

The court’s reasoning is summed up in the following sentence: “While [California law] prohibits harassing conduct that creates a work environment that is hostile or abusive on the basis of sex, it does not outlaw sexually coarse and vulgar language or conduct that merely offends.”

This is precisely the issue that is at the heart of many college free-speech controversies, in which various “minority-rights” groups invoke the language of “harassment” and “hostile environment” in order to advocate for the censorship of words and ideas that they consider offensive or “oppressive.”

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