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Westboro baptist church

 
 
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 10:01 am
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the First Amendment protects fundamentalist church members who mount attention-getting, anti-gay protests outside military funerals.

The court voted 8-1 in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. The decision upheld an appeals court ruling that threw out a $5 million judgment to the father of a dead Marine who sued church members after they picketed his son's funeral.
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 10:04 am
i don't have a problem with this, reprehensible they may be, but they're the price of freedom

and when the little children sing their parody songs it's adorable
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 02:30 pm
@djjd62,
The problem with these guys is the fact that their speech is purposely inciteful. If you l;ook at the web sites tracking the Westy wackos you will see that the church gets much of its income from inciting people to "take a swing at em" then they sue for damages. They puh the envelope to ends of what is considered free speech and enters realms that, Like yelling "Fire ina theater" may really not be protected. Judge ALito, the lone dissenter stated that, through recordings of the Westy demonstrations stated as much in his dissenting opinion.

In the majority opinion,I am paraphrasing Roberts, who admitted that, in the future ,some kinds of restraint of speech may be necessary when it can be shown to be harmful. I guess Alitos use of those recordings arent admissable to the courts deliberation.
engineer
 
  4  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 03:04 pm
@farmerman,
But they aren't harmful. They are hurting people's feelings, but as Roberts noted in his majority opinion, free speech often hurts feelings. The Westboro people are staging events where they know they will get extreme publicity. The meticulously follow the law. In the court case, the attendees at the funeral did not even know they were there. If saying mean things about someone was unconstitutional speech, Bush and Clinton could make a career out of suing everyone in sight. I assume Obama would wait until he was out of office.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  4  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 03:14 pm
I completely agree with this decision. Rather that scumbags like this can rant to their heart's content, than that this very important civil right be eroded.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 03:48 pm
@Setanta,
Me too. It's sort of a timely reminder about freedom of speech - appalled as I am with the idiot church.
I can see Alito's point, and farmerman's, re closeness to incitement and figure there will be future cases.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  6  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 03:55 pm
Free speach means everyone. But, if people would simply put these cretins on ignore, they would soon fade away.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 04:00 pm
@Setanta,
I agree with Setanta's reasoning.
0 Replies
 
Irishk
 
  0  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 04:00 pm
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:
Free speach means everyone. But, if people would simply put these cretins on ignore, they would soon fade away.


+1000
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 04:01 pm
@Irishk,
This doesn't work on a2k, much less the larger world, but it's still a good and effective idea if utilized.
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 04:05 pm
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:
Free speach means everyone. But, if people would simply put these cretins on ignore, they would soon fade away.


exactly, they're not the catholic church with branches everywhere and millions of members, they're about 20+ loonies, let them use the internet to spread their crap, but the major media should just shut them out
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  -3  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2011 11:17 pm
@edgarblythe,
Quote:
But, if people would simply put these cretins on ignore, they would soon fade away.


The government is looking to institute that, Ed. When you hear stuff you don't like you push your bellybutton and that person is placed on "ignore", a la A2K.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Thu 3 Mar, 2011 09:01 am
@dyslexia,
This sickens me. Did you read about the ruling by Justice Alito and his thoughts? Here is some of it...

He said the nation’s commitment to free and open debate “is not a license for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case.”

"Respondents brutally attacked Matthew Snyder, and this attack, which was almost certain to inflict injury, was central to respondents' well-practiced strategy for attracting public attention," Alito wrote.

I've been trying to find somewhere his complete write up, but can't find it now. I've been listening to quite a bit of it.

There are many instances where freedom of speech is overruled over safety and privacy concerns occur.

It seems if people protesting at abortion clinics have to x distance away, why can't they have something similar at this sort or private moment? Where does right to privacy come into play? http://www.aolnews.com/2011/03/02/westboro-baptist-church-ruling-dissenting-justice-samuel-alito/
Thomas
 
  4  
Reply Thu 3 Mar, 2011 06:22 pm
@Linkat,
Linkat wrote:
This sickens me. Did you read about the ruling by Justice Alito and his thoughts? Here is some of it...

Justice Alito didn't write the ruling in this decision, he wrote the dissent. Chief Justice Roberts wrote the ruling.

Linkat wrote:
I've been trying to find somewhere his complete write up, but can't find it now. I've been listening to quite a bit of it.

The Supreme Court's website has a list of its most recent decisions. The case you're looking for is Snyder v. Phelps. Alito's dissent comes after the Court's opinion, on page 23.

Linkat wrote:
It seems if people protesting at abortion clinics have to x distance away, why can't they have something similar at this sort or private moment?

Whether they had to or not, the protesters of Westboro Baptist Church did keep an appropriate distance from the funeral, according to the Court's summary of the facts.

On pages 2--3 of the Supreme Court's Snyder v. Phelps decision, Chief Justice Roberts wrote:

The picketing took place within a 10- by 25-foot plot of public land adjacent to a public street, behind a temporary fence. That plot was approximately 1,000 feet from the church where the funeral was held. Several buildings separated the picket site from the church. The Westboro picketers displayed their signs for about 30 minutes before the funeral began and sang hymns and recited Bible verses. None of the picketers entered church property or went to the cemetery. They did not yell or use profanity, and there was no violence associated with the picketing.

The funeral procession passed within 200 to 300 feet of the picket site. Although Snyder testified that he could see the tops of the picket signs as he drove to the funeral, he did not see what was written on the signs until later that night, while watching a news broadcast covering the event. [citation omitted---T.]

Assuming the Court got these facts right, I have no problem with its decision.
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Thu 3 Mar, 2011 06:26 pm
@Thomas,
Quote:

Assuming the Court got these facts right, I have no problem with its decision.


Agree 100%.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2011 08:06 am
@Thomas,
Of course the court's decision is correct and Alito's dissent is wrong on both the law and the facts. But there's a much more interesting corollary of this decision: it may finally provide a basis for overturning all "hate crime" laws - barring none - as unconstitutional. This article outlines that line of attack:
Quote:
...Sheppard’s death was the impetus for the “Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act,” signed into law by President Obama in 2009. ....Presumably this law is constitutional. Yet how can one be certain about what constitutes a hate crime without some element of derogatory speech involved? .... if derogatory speech, or “vicious verbal assault,” as Mr. Alito characterizes the actions of the WBC, is something that can be considered an element of criminality with respect to hate crimes, how does it become protected with respect to funeral protests?

As it currently stands, it is theoretically possible that the same person free to hold up a sign with the word “fag” on it at a funeral can be given additional punishment for saying the word “fag” during the commission of an offense against a homosexual..
.

http://frontpagemag.com/2011/03/04/a-judges-dissent/
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2011 08:53 am
@High Seas,
I've always thought "hate crimes" are hard to distinguish from "crimes", but I don't see the conflict coming from this ruling. "Hate" is an aggrevating factor.
Quote:
As it currently stands, it is theoretically possible that the same person free to hold up a sign with the word “fag” on it at a funeral can be given additional punishment for saying the word “fag” during the commission of an offense against a homosexual...

The difference is "during the commission of an offense". If I have a permit and carry a gun on a street corner, that is not a crime. If I use the gun to assault someone I will get a significantly harsher penalty than if I just beat them with my hands.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2011 12:36 pm
@Thomas,
There is someone always that is so anal they have to point out any little mistake - ruling vs. dissent - I meant which I think is very obvious the judges opinion of the ruling.

As far as distance - Not according to the dad in an interview - they were much closer and the family actually had to enter into the church from a service entrance because of this. Doesn't sound as if that fits into so much distance away. They were blocking the way for them to enter easily. I think the judges got this wrong. And there is no law currently that you need to x distance from a funeral - just damn old common sense.

We have laws where funerals in a car procession cannot be interrupted and drive straight through redlights. They are not subject to stop for emergency vehicles - out of respect for the dead and the family. And we can't make a law out of respect that protests must a certain distance away?
High Seas
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2011 12:57 pm
@Linkat,
Linkat wrote:


As far as distance - Not according to the dad in an interview -

So the police, and the protesters, and everyone except for the father in your interview was lying through the teeth, and you're the only sleuth able to spot this? And Thomas is to blame for stating the plain facts? Are you serious? Maryland already has a distance law for funerals, FYI, and the USSC noted that:
Quote:
The Westboro protesters prevailed in court due in large part to the fact that they were more than one thousand feet away from the church where the funeral took place, which more than satisfies the 100-foot restriction imposed by the state of Maryland.

0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  0  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2011 01:13 pm
@Linkat,
Linkat wrote:
There is someone always that is so anal they have to point out any little mistake - ruling vs. dissent -

You're kidding, right?

Linkat wrote:
As far as distance - Not according to the dad in an interview

The father had the chance to establish this point in the courtroom, to much greater effect. That he didn't establish it there, and did try to make it in an interview instead, tells you what he thought about the strength of his point.
 

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