PDA

View Full Version : Supreme Court Sides With Westboro Baptist Church



NJCardFan
03-02-2011, 10:15 PM
Reporting from Washington Ruling in a case that pressed the outer limits of free speech, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said that even anti-gay protesters who picketed the funerals of U.S. troops with signs reading, "Thank God for Dead Soldiers," cannot be sued.

In an 8-1 decision, the justices upheld an appellate court's decision to strike down a jury verdict against Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. Phelps and his family gained national attention and stirred deep anger for using military funerals as a backdrop to proclaim an anti-gay and anti-military message.

The church believes that the United States is too tolerant of sin and that the death of American soldiers is God's punishment.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said that when the disputed words "address matters of public import on public property" and when the protest is conducted "in a peaceful manner, in full compliance with the guidance of local officials," they are protected.

Roberts cited past rulings that shielded offensive words and outrageous protests.

He pointed to the decision that freed protesters who burned the American flag and another that protected a Hustler magazine satirist who portrayed the Rev. Jerry Falwell in an outhouse. Last year, Roberts spoke for the court in striking down on free-speech grounds a law that made it crime to sell videos of illegal dog-fighting.

The "bedrock principle underlying the 1st Amendment," Roberts said in quoting the flag-burning ruling by the late liberal Justice William J. Brennan Jr., is that the government cannot punish words or ideas "simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable."

The decision Wednesday drew a howl of protest from Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. like Roberts, a conservative who said that the father of the dead Marine who sued the protesters was "not a public figure" who could be expected to tolerate such an onslaught, but a private person who sought to "bury his son in peace." Link (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-court-protests-20110303,0,7382749.story)

NJCardFan
03-02-2011, 10:17 PM
Thomas, Roberts, and Scalia should be ashamed of themselves. This is going to open a can of worms. Worst yet, Matthew Sheppard's father has to pay their court costs and WB is going to seek another $100K from him.

FlaGator
03-02-2011, 10:39 PM
Thomas, Roberts, and Scalia should be ashamed of themselves. This is going to open a can of worms. Worst yet, Matthew Sheppard's father has to pay their court costs and WB is going to seek another $100K from him.

Dealing with freedom of speech issues is always tricky. When is it safe to stifle someone's right to say what they want? Today they might say that Westbro has gone to far but tomorrow that ruling may be turned against something you or I say.

I'm not agreeing with Westbro and I find what the do to be horrible and offensive but the line between what is acceptable speech and what isn't acceptable is a blurry one.

PoliCon
03-02-2011, 10:40 PM
Ashamed why? Freedom of speech is freedom of speech. Do we want the courts to side in favor of someones right not to be offended? Are you sure you want to open that can of worms?

NJCardFan
03-02-2011, 11:02 PM
Ashamed why? Freedom of speech is freedom of speech. Do we want the courts to side in favor of someones right not to be offended? Are you sure you want to open that can of worms?

OK, then the Klan if free to protest the funerals of blacks holding signs bearing the N word, right?

PoliCon
03-02-2011, 11:05 PM
OK, then the Klan if free to protest the funerals of blacks holding signs bearing the N word, right?

They should be.

NJCardFan
03-02-2011, 11:10 PM
We have no civility in this country. Once again, this kind of crap is allowed to happen because our ability to punch someone in the face has been taken away.

PoliCon
03-02-2011, 11:13 PM
We have no civility in this country. Once again, this kind of crap is allowed to happen because our ability to punch someone in the face has been taken away.

Has it? You're still welcome to punch someone in the face - you just have to pay the price for your actions. I'm sure that if asshats from Westboro were jumped - very few people would be willing to testify on their behalf.

NJCardFan
03-02-2011, 11:27 PM
Has it? You're still welcome to punch someone in the face - you just have to pay the price for your actions. I'm sure that if asshats from Westboro were jumped - very few people would be willing to testify on their behalf.
That's the point. You can get in someone's face and be an asshole and that person cannot touch you. When I was growing up, if someone got in my face and acted like an asshole, I put their lights out with no ramifications.

CueSi
03-02-2011, 11:29 PM
Has it? You're still welcome to punch someone in the face - you just have to pay the price for your actions. I'm sure that if asshats from Westboro were jumped - very few people would be willing to testify on their behalf.

Yeah... It would be like the Ken Rex McElroy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_McElroy) case. Thirty to forty witnesses saw that man get shot to death, but because he was so hated, no one EVER came forward. No one ever was arrested. It's an unknown murder that everyone knows who did it, but no one will ever say.

~QC

Novaheart
03-02-2011, 11:29 PM
Doesn't the Phelps family live , and try to sleep, inside their "church"?

If all bets are off on protests, then what would keep Rolling Thunder from making life miserable for the POS Phelps family?

I'm not terribly devious, I'm guessing that somebody thinks up something even more fun for the Phelps folks.

Personally, I wouldn't care if someone did a Kitty Genovese.

PoliCon
03-02-2011, 11:42 PM
That's the point. You can get in someone's face and be an asshole and that person cannot touch you. When I was growing up, if someone got in my face and acted like an asshole, I put their lights out with no ramifications.

I'm not sure I can agree with that either.

PoliCon
03-02-2011, 11:45 PM
Yeah... It would be like the Ken Rex McElroy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_McElroy) case. Thirty to forty witnesses saw that man get shot to death, but because he was so hated, no one EVER came forward. No one ever was arrested. It's an unknown murder that everyone knows who did it, but no one will ever say.

~QC

I wouldn't testify myself in that situation - or against someone who kicked the crap out of phelps or his family.

Novaheart
03-02-2011, 11:51 PM
I'd like to arrive shortly after the beat down and say, "Damn Shirley, that looks awful painful."

These are simply some of the worse people this country has to offer. They thrive on being shouted down, they never get tired of being despised. They are true religious nutbags, and yet the financial incentive has them all studying the law so there is just enough cynicism to make you wonder if it's not all an act.

BTW, the look in Fred Phelps eyes is what I mean when I call someone "glassy eyed".

djones520
03-02-2011, 11:56 PM
We have no civility in this country. Once again, this kind of crap is allowed to happen because our ability to punch someone in the face has been taken away.

And who gets to decide what is civil enough?

It is a disgusting matter, but as a conservative I'm content with their opinion that it is better to keep the governments hands out of this.

Rockntractor
03-02-2011, 11:58 PM
And who gets to decide what is civil enough?

It is a disgusting matter, but as a conservative I'm content with their opinion that it is better to keep the governments hands out of this.

That seems too be the opinion of most talk shows, Beck was worried it might go the other way.

Novaheart
03-03-2011, 12:03 AM
That seems too be the opinion of most talk shows, Beck was worried it might go the other way.

Well it should certainly alleviate the fear of the Henny Penny society (some of whom honestly believe the US has hate speech laws) that European style hate speech laws are inevitable. They must be terribly disappointed.

NJCardFan
03-03-2011, 12:04 AM
I'm not sure I can agree with that either.

Invade my personal space and pay the price. Besides, this is why bullies get away with what they do because kids are being taught not to fight. My dad always taught us that we couldn't start a fight but if someone started with us, we were free to finish it. I didn't get bullied much because of that philosophy.

Novaheart
03-03-2011, 12:10 AM
Invade my personal space and pay the price. Besides, this is why bullies get away with what they do because kids are being taught not to fight. My ad always taught is that we couldn't start a fight but if someone started with us, we were free to finish it. I didn't get bullied much because of that philosophy.

To the best of my knowledge, the Westboros know the rules and follow them. Their income relies on them being able to prove that they were doing nothing wrong.

PoliCon
03-03-2011, 12:12 AM
Invade my personal space and pay the price. Besides, this is why bullies get away with what they do because kids are being taught not to fight. My ad always taught is that we couldn't start a fight but if someone started with us, we were free to finish it. I didn't get bullied much because of that philosophy.

Grew up with the same philosophy - except it was mom saying it - and my principal was terrified of my mother.

Rockntractor
03-03-2011, 12:36 AM
Well it should certainly alleviate the fear of the Henny Penny society (some of whom honestly believe the US has hate speech laws) that European style hate speech laws are inevitable. They must be terribly disappointed.

Your response to what i said makes no sense, the conservative hosts wanted the decision they got.

Wei Wu Wei
03-03-2011, 12:40 AM
That's the point. You can get in someone's face and be an asshole and that person cannot touch you. When I was growing up, if someone got in my face and acted like an asshole, I put their lights out with no ramifications.

someone is sad about losing his mojo

Rockntractor
03-03-2011, 12:42 AM
someone is sad about losing his mojo

Go play on one of your commie threads troll!

Rockntractor
03-03-2011, 12:53 AM
The Henny Penny Society would be a subset of Beck fans usually found on Free Republic who seem to think that there are hate speech laws in the US. Some of them even believe they know of cases in which they have been invoked. They are rather like the folks who no matter how many times you explain what a public accommodation is, or what the specific situation was, do not get why the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association cannot operate a tax free concession on the boardwalk, and then turn away town residents because they are gay.

You are still just babbling nonsense.

Zathras
03-03-2011, 03:50 AM
You are still just babbling nonsense.

That's what happens when you're that special kind of kid who rode the short bus for his entire childhood and, for that matter, to this very day.

noonwitch
03-03-2011, 08:53 AM
Yeah... It would be like the Ken Rex McElroy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_McElroy) case. Thirty to forty witnesses saw that man get shot to death, but because he was so hated, no one EVER came forward. No one ever was arrested. It's an unknown murder that everyone knows who did it, but no one will ever say.

~QC


Or the average prison murder. It's amazing when someone gets shanked in front of 20 or 30 other inmates and all of the written witness statements are a variety of "I ain't seen nothing".


Even with juvies, when there's an incident in which a kid is injured during a restraint-the investigators will interview all the kids who witnessed the incident and all of them will give statements like "I was doing my homework and didn't see anything", or "I was reading my Bible and concentrating really hard on it, so I didn't see what happened". The teens are just still having fun with it all.

NJCardFan
03-03-2011, 10:08 AM
someone is sad about losing his mojo

Invade my personal space and see if I lost my mojo. However, you might lose a few teeth.