SCOTUS Upholds Freedom of Speech When it Comes to Westboro Baptists
Mrs. Bulldog and I were discussing this issue just this past week and came up with a solution which would uphold the 1st Amendment, yet curtail the activities of the Westboro Baptists: Remove any police presence from affected military funerals and just let the mourners (who most likely will have a few battle-hardened soldiers in their midst) take matters into their own hands. Put the fear of God into the Westboros, as it were, and make them think twice about their chosen strategy.
As an added bonus, affected mourners can always sue the Westboros for having incited any riots that might break out. Problem solved!
Yup, like I learned the hard way when I was younger; you have the right to free speech, but you better be willing to live with the potentially painful consequences if someone doesn’t like what you’re saying:
Westboro nut cases owe the Founding Fathers one
Commentary: Rally round the First Amendment even in the face of hate mongering
CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — For a little church in Kansas, it has an awfully big mouth. But as repugnant as what its members spout is, the government has no place in shutting their pie holes.
The Supreme Court didn’t put it exactly that way Wednesday when it upheld an appeals courts ruling that overturned a big monetary judgment against Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. But the sentiment of the 8-1 decision amounts to the same thing.
The foresighted folks who wrote our Constitution didn’t make any distinctions about the type of speech they were protecting when they added the First Amendment. They just said Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.
That broad principal worked out well for the church members of Westboro. Despite their despicable tactics of picketing the funerals of military members in order to spew their nonsense that God is punishing the U.S. for “the sin of homosexuality,” the Constitution, and the Court, says they can go right on spewing and don’t have to pay $10.9 million in lawsuit damages.
And we should revel in that decision. We don’t have to like the message, or think much more of the messengers than we would of toadstools, but we sure have to like the fact that we are free to say what we think, thanks to the First Amendment.
That bit of our heritage was a brazen statement about the promise, and the pig sty, that is democracy — that only a completely open society, tolerant of all views, would thrive. And it sure does get messy in that sty, as we’ve seen not just in this case but in everything from the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to statehouse budget-cut protests.
So thank you, Westboro Baptist Church, for reminding us again what we value in this country, which is not you. We’d exercise our rights to come down to Topeka and picket your sorry little establishment, but you’re just not worth it.Explore posts in the same categories: Supreme Court