Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The High Court Rightly Defends Westboro Crazies Right to Protest

The SCOTUS decision on the Westboro Church's protests of military funerals was released today.  The decision was 8-1, Alito being the only dissenter.  As much as I find the members of the Westboro Church to be crazy and offensive, this was the right decision.  Free speech and the right to assemble must be protected. 

There also has been misunderstanding of the case.  While protesting this particular funeral the family wasn't even aware of the presence of the protesters until they were told about it from someone seeing media reports.  In no way did they interrupt the services.  They had legal permits and stayed within the distances that the permits required them to, I believe it was 1,000 feet.  More and more states are putting laws into place about the distance people must stay away from funeral services.  The Church may be full of crazies, but they are not stupid and do follow the letter of the law. 

The one thing that I have always kept in mind during this case was the fact that I have become involved in going to protests and want my view points to be heard.  As an example here are some comments on Huffington Post on this case:

I blame hate speech for the GOP being so radicalize­d right now.

Of course, this SCOTUS rules in favor of right wing hate speech. Why would we expect this group to actually come down in favor of common sense. Funny how first amendment protection­s are no longer extended to journalist­s and whistleblo­wers.
I am so ready for Hate Speech laws.

Gee, maybe the Church is Right.

As much as I hate what these people have to say, which is quite disgusting­, I agree with this decision..­.free speech is free speech, no matter how vile, stupid, and racist. See the Tea Party and many in the conservati­ve party.
 The problem is if I am unwilling to stand for their right to speech and to protest mine will be taken away next.  Giving them the right to protest is in no way endorsing what they say, it is just protecting my rights to do the same.  If Westboro's right to protest was taken away, someone would be coming for the Tea Party next.  Freedom is not free, even the speech you find offensive has the same protections. 


The_Kid said...

I agree also. Hey, what a shocker that huffandpuffington wants to CENSOR. (not)

By the way, it is a fact that these people are not in the least religious or believe their own nonsense. They are all lawyers and they make their money being assaulted as they go around as the most vile show on Earth. True.

Doesn't matter to your point though. Free speech is free speech. I was happy to see the laws popping up about standoff distances and believe those are perfectly valid.

One more quick note. The Patriot Guard Riders would go to every military funeral and make sure (non-violently) than none of the attendees of the funeral could hear these pieces of garbage, by using the motorcycle engines, etc.

Atlanta Roofing said...

It's hard to not feel like Westboro is being validated, but when so many of our most crucial rights seem under assault lately, I find this decision enormously reassuring. The sanctions against Westboro were designed to come from We the People, not the hand of government. Make no mistake that Westboro are national pariahs, as they obviously should be. But their hateful, moronic, pathetic and distorting speech is what we must protect the most avidly. The 1st Amendment is not subject to popularity tests.

PunditMom said...

I wish I didn't agree. As much as I hate what the Westboro church people do, I am afraid that the decisions SCOTUS made is the right one. Having said that, I am sure that local governments will soon be passing laws to keep protesters at a certain distance from funerals. That is the kind of law they are within their rights to pass.

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