„Real threats of violence“ directed against a person or group of individuals who intend to expose the target to a risk of bodily harm or death are generally not protected.  However, there are several exceptions. For example, the Supreme Court has ruled that „threats cannot be punished if a reasonable person interprets them as obvious exaggeration,“ he wrote.   In addition, threats of „social ostracism“ and „politically motivated boycott“ are constitutionally protected.  The Supreme Court quashed his conviction. Thus, the court announced the test of „imminent illegal act“ for incitement. To be considered incitement and therefore not protected by the First Amendment, inflammatory speech: The 1988 decision in Riley v. The National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina called it unconstitutional and a restriction on fundraising fees for telemarketers to be unconstitutional and not narrow enough to withstand First Amendment scrutiny. But the 2002 decision in Illinois ex rel. Madigan v.
Telemarketing Assoc., Inc. upheld Illinois Telemarketing`s anti-fraud law against claims that it was a form of prior restraint, confirming that protecting consumers from misrepresentation was a valid government interest that warranted an exception to free speech for false claims in this context. Commercial discourse plays a unique role as an exception to freedom of expression. While there is no complete exception, lawyers acknowledge that this is a „diminished protection.“  For example, false advertising may be punished and misleading advertising prohibited.  Commercial advertising may be restricted in a way that other statements cannot restrict where an essential public interest is alleged, and this restriction supports that interest and is not overly broad.  This doctrine of limited protection of advertising stems from a trade-off inherent in the political explanations of the rule, namely that other types of statements (e.g., political) are much more important.  There have been various cases, including J.C. Penney Corporation v. Cynthia Spann.
This case was raised because Cynthia Spann argued that J.C. Penney was using false advertising for its sales. In the end, Cynthia Spann won the case.  The standard for determining when speech was not protected as incitement was established in 1969 in Brandenburg v. Ohio.  In this case, Clarence Brandenburg, a KKK leader, organized a KKK rally in rural Ohio advocating „revenge“ against the government and certain minorities, as well as other inflammatory comments. Convicted under a state law prohibiting incitement to violence, he was fined and imprisoned. A free society must give hate speech plenty of respite to avoid mind control and government censorship of unpopular opinions. Instead of suppressing freedom of speech, we, as free citizens, have the power to respond most effectively to hate speech through protest, ridicule, debate, questions, silence, or simply leaving.
The government has additional powers to restrict the broadcast of speeches on radio and television. Since the government is considered the owner of the radio waves, it can dictate who broadcasts on the radio and, to some extent, what those broadcasters can say. For this reason, the Supreme Court ruled in FCC v. The Pacifica Foundation (1978) maintained a ban on the dissemination of vulgar words, although these words outside the ether are generally constitutionally protected. This is also why the Supreme Court in Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC (1969) upheld the „fairness doctrine,“ a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulation that, at the time, required broadcasters to give time to people who wanted to take opposing positions. But this additional governmental power extended only to radio and television broadcasts and not to other media, including newspapers, cable television and the Internet.
(The FCC abolished the fairness doctrine in 1987.) Although different researchers look at unprotected speech in different ways, there are basically nine categories: In practice, it is very difficult to write laws that prohibit fighting words that are not „too broad“ or „vague,“ because laws designed to prohibit fighting words cannot anticipate details or go into detail. Laws that are broad or vague enough to deter constitutionally protected speech, or that are so vague that they do not reasonably explain to the public what is prohibited, will be removed.  The courts have ruled that, in certain circumstances, blasphemy may be regulated by the government in accordance with the First Amendment. Here, a sign on the GRTC Transit System`s 84 bus in Richmond, Virginia, reminds passengers that uttering profanity or obscenity on buses is forbidden behavior. (Photo by Taber Andrew Bain, Creative Commons by 2.0) The First Amendment guarantees our ability to communicate ideas and express ourselves. Nevertheless, the limitations described in this presentation illustrate the balancing standards that courts must apply to ensure that our application of freedom of expression does not jeopardize our other societal interests.