Clay Calvert Featured in Podcast Analyzing the First Amendment
Clay Calvert, director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, is featured in the podcast “What the Politics?!: Analyzing the First Amendment” from the CBS television affiliate WNCT Channel 9 in Greenville, North Carolina.
Calvert explains the First Amendment and what is and what is not protected. He said that incitement to violence is one of the few exceptions to the First Amendment and free speech.
“There is a precise definition or test for what constitutes [incitement to violence], and it really involves three elements according to the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Calvert. “First, the speaker in question must actually intend to convey a statement that would cause imminent lawless harm or is likely to cause. Second, the violence that might actually result is imminent, and finally, the violence has to be likely to occur. The senators at the impeachment trial for former President Trump are not bound by First Amendment principles of free speech because the trial is not a judicial proceeding.”
In the podcast, Calvert also spoke about the perception by conservatives that free speech is being censored by social media platforms. He said that the First Amendment only protects people from government censorship, not censorship by private companies. Private companies determine the terms of service that their users must abide by or be deplatformed.
“Private censorship can sometimes be just as dangerous as government censorship,” said Calvert. “Who controls the marketplace of ideas? Do they have a larger more powerful voice than others?
“One of the major issues is what actually caused the [Jan. 6] riot? Was it Trump, the atmosphere or the groups that speak on social media platforms? Who do you really want to blame?” he said. “The blame goes to those who caused the riot and they will be criminally responsible. The First Amendment does not protect criminal conduct, only free speech.”
“There are other public officials who might have had some hand in provoking the insurgence. The ballot box will be the remedy. They can be voted out by constituents or censured by fellow members of the legislature. There are repercussions for what you say,” said Calvert.