We also got involved in Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski, another “free speech zone” case in which a college had limited free speech to a tiny fraction of the campus. Georgia Gwinnett College allegedly limited free speech to just 0.0015% of campus — and even there students couldn’t speak freely. They had to get permission from campus officials in advance; they could only use the free speech zone at a specified date and time, and they could not say things that might “disturb the … comfort of person(s).”

That standard effectively sets up a “heckler’s veto” by conditioning the speakers’ rights to express themselves on an audience’s potential reaction. Under this system, all a listener has to do to stop someone from speaking is to act offended, no matter how reasonable, how peaceable, or how true the speaker’s message actually is.

That’s the exact opposite of what the First Amendment demands, and it encourages people to act offended or to drown out opinions they don’t agree with. Freedom of speech is the law of the land, and attempts to restrict it must be held to the highest standards of scrutiny — not to the low, subjective standards of offense or discomfort.