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Originally posted by aptness
Originally posted by mishigas
I agree with you up to a point. I'm a little hesitant to get into the how of their choice to express themselves. Remember Piss Christ? And their motives are protected, too. Remember The People vs Larry Flynt?
In either situation people had at least some control over being exposed to the artwork or Flynt’s movies. In this case, the families of the people whose funerals Phelps and his gang decide to picket don’t have any choice really. In fact, in all of these cases (funerals), most likely, people are exposed to Westboro’s views against their will.
And since you bring up Flint’s name, I believe that in Hustler v. Falwell, the Court mentioned and made the distinction between speech which could be considered objectionable, and speech with specific intent to inflict emotional harm. I’m not arguing that in regards to Westboro’s actions it’s a very clear, black and white, case. Rarely, in fact, when it comes to the First Amendment, is there any such thing as a black and white case.