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As rudeness rises, SJC ruling on public meetings makes one wary

The John Adams Courthouse in Boston.Lane Turner/Globe Staff/File

Re “SJC rules against ‘civility restraints’: Free speech backed at public hearings” (Metro, March 9): While appreciating the intent of the ruling of the state Supreme Judicial Court on free speech as regards residents’ right to speak without being censored at public meetings, I am concerned not only over the level that these meetings may well reach but also as to whether elected officials will feel that they can use the same rude language back at members of the public.

Do we really want more of the Donald Trump approach of insulting one another, where emotions can become elevated, increasing the potential for violence? Might other residents avoid attending meetings if they feel the circumstances may not be safe?


In my many years, I’ve observed a rising climate of incivility, and I feel that it prevents differences of opinion from being discussed reasonably and with mutual respect. It will be interesting to see whether this ruling leads to out-of-control public hearings.

I can’t imagine judges would want to be addressed in “rude, personal, and disrespectful” ways.

Charles Martel