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Arizona lawmakers pass emergency legislation to block Westboro protesters

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posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 09:25 PM

Originally posted by okbmd
Let me just start by saying that you sir , are one of those people who tend to make me go

You , and others like you , jump on the First Amendment bandwagon , trying to give the impression that you are well versed in the Constitution .

I'm really surprised to see someone know the 9th amendment, let alone use it, however it really helps if it's used in context and used properly.

A simple translation of what is being said will reduce the argument since the Bill or Rights was not written for the people, but for the government. The 9th Amendment says this: Because we have written down certain rights does not mean that the rights the people possess are limited to those. It also was not intended to say that because it wasn't listed, those rights are not rights.

I suppose your point is to bolster the idea that the family has the right to have the funeral uninterrupted, which is true and I've not seen anyone disagree. Regardless of the intention of the protesters or the content of their "message", provided they are on public land they can basically do what they want.

Long story short, this is an issue for the people to handle, not the government. The more it's handled by the former, the less of the latter is needed. This legislation is pointless, and because of that it fails every litmus test one could put on legislation.

posted on Jan, 13 2011 @ 03:56 AM
reply to post by KrazyJethro

Noise curfews aren't really a good comparison.

Why not? Please explain. I see no difference at all.

posted on Jan, 14 2011 @ 11:48 PM
reply to post by rnaa

The difference is that they WB folks may or may not make noise. Either way, there is a distinct sense that this has more to do with content than anything else. Noise curfews are simply about volume, although I'll grant it does has an element regarding proximity.

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 06:38 PM
reply to post by KrazyJethro

The difference is that they WB folks may or may not make noise. Either way, there is a distinct sense that this has more to do with content than anything else. Noise curfews are simply about volume, although I'll grant it does has an element regarding proximity.

Yes, the issue of noise is not the factor of interest, or else all that would have to happen is the noise curfew ordinance be amended to include 'during a funeral'.

The issue is the balance of two conflicting rights:

Noise Curfew: the rights of partygoers to make noise versus the rights of neighbors to sleep in peace and security.
Dignity Bubble: (my term of convenience) the rights of protesters to protest versus the rights of mourners to bury their loved ones in peace and dignity.

The protesters are not being denied their right to protest, they can protest to their hearts consent. But within the boundaries society has established to ensure that others rights are not denied in the process.

posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 07:11 PM
reply to post by shadow watcher

Amend the rules that allow protest permits for funerals. This alone would stop them cold, and allow the 1st amendment to stand untouched.

A permit to protest is arguably a violation of the First Amendment. Of course, this is Tuscon we're talking about and it is a state issue not a federal issue. However, Section 3 of Article II - Declaration of Rights - of the Arizona State Constitution states:

Supreme Law of the Land

The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land.

Thus, the First Amendment is applicable, Even further, Section 5 of Article II of the Arizona State Constitution states:

Right of Petition and of Assembly

The right of petition, and of the people peaceably to assemble for the common good, shall never be abridged.

In fairness to Arizona legislators the question of common good comes into play when discussing the matter of the Westboro protesters. Yet, there is the matter of Section 6, Article II of the Arizona State Constitution, which states:

Freedom of Speech and Press

Every person may freely speak, write, and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right.

Again, we find language that could very well bring into question the actions of the Westboro protesters, assuming they do protest at the funeral, as to whether they are being "responsible for the abuse of the right to free speech". However, a permit is a grant by government, that as you pointed out can be denied to people, and because of that would be a violation of both state and federal Constitutions. As to the question of accepting responsibility for the abuse of the right to free speech, the Westboro protesters would first have to exercise their right to free speech before it can be determined whether or not there was any abuse of it.

My personal opinion of this group is that they appear to be opportunistic religious zealots that do their religion and freedom a great disservice, but are they acting criminally? This cannot be known until they act. Denying them the freedom to protest or speech will not facilitate that knowledge and the denial itself would be necessarily based upon a presumption of knowledge rather than knowledge itself. Not to mention the fact that denial of this right is expressly forbidden.

Law is not based upon emotion, it is the self evident nature of unalienable rights. Legislation is not law, merely evidence of law. If it is law it is a protection of unalienable rights, or an attempt to remedy a denial or disparagement of unalienable rights. If the legislation enacted does not accomplish this, then it is not law, merely legislation. If we are to be a nation of laws, then let us be a nation of laws. Tragically, we are not a nation of laws, we are a nation burdened with hundreds of thousands of acts of legislation.

Being a jerk is not criminal, as unseemly as it may be. Legislating against jerks makes us all jerks.

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