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.