Mother-Fucking Citation

Baker, John JBaker at STRADLEY.COM
Tue Mar 27 19:55:23 UTC 2001

        I suppose that these words (which seem invariably to be
"mother-fucking son of a bitch," or some variation thereon, and never just
mother-fucking by itself) would indeed be fighting words.  The fighting
words doctrine is actually a constitutional doctrine, having nothing to do
with the Texas court's cases.  The Supreme Court wrote in Chaplinsky v.
State of New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568 (1942) (footnotes omitted):

        >>[I]t is well understood that the right of free speech is not
absolute at all times and under all circumstances.  There are certain
well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech, the prevention  and
punishment of which has never been thought to raise any Constitutional
problem.  These include the lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous, and
the insulting or 'fighting' words - those which by their very utterance
inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace. <<

        Interestingly, the Texas court made a distinction between this
provocation, which it termed an insult against the person addressed only,
and actual slanders of one's female relatives (e.g., suggestions that they
are prostitutes).  The implication is that slanders of female relatives
would be a greater provocation and would further tend to excuse a defendant.

John Baker

> -----Original Message-----
> From: RonButters at AOL.COM [SMTP:RonButters at AOL.COM]
> Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2001 2:32 PM
> Subject:      Re: Mother-Fucking Citation
> Is this what is called "fighting words"?

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