In the context of freedom of speech , where do your rights end and mine begin ? I want you to think about that for a moment .
I normally don't get involved in the sordid mess of political issues , but I feel this latest fiasco by westboro needs to be addressed in a logical
manner , from a constitutional standpoint .
Having replied to a poster in another thread on this issue , as an after-thought , I felt this issue deserved a thread of it's own .
I see numerous posters on here who say that westboro is protected by the First Amendment , in regards to protesting at funerals .
Those who are posting these claims could not be further from the truth .
The First Amendment , in the Bill of Rights , states in part : " Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech , ...".
The First Amendment prohibits CONGRESS , and CONGRESS ONLY , from "abridging" the freedom of speech . CONGRESS , and ONLY Congress , "shall make no
law" abridging the freedom of speech . This prohibition is directed at Congress only , and applies to no other entity , such as State Government .
So , what does this mean ? It means that Congress does not have the power to make any law(s) that would abridge freedom of speech . It does not state
, nor does it imply , that individual states are prohibited from making such laws .
And before any of you decide to challenge this and tell me how wrong I am , let's take a look at the 10th Amendment :
" The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution , nor prohibited by it to the States , are reserved to the States respectively ,
or the people ."
What this means , in the context of freedom of speech , is that the power to make any law(s) that would abridge freedom of speech , was not delegated
to Congress , by the Constitution .
" ... nor prohibited by it to the States ..." . The power to make such a law(s) , by any State , was not and is not , prohibited by the Constitution .
Therefore , the individual States are not prohibited from abridging the rights of westboro to protest at funerals . As a matter of fact , several
states have already enacted measures that curtail the so-called "rights" of westboro to protest at funerals .
Meaning , the First Amendment protects you from Congress . Nowhere , does it imply that it protects you from laws that may be enacted by any given
In further support of my assertion that westboro has no constitutional right to protest at funerals , let's now take a look at the 9th Amendment :
" The enumeration in the Constitution , of certain rights , shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people ."
Meaning , the First Amendment enumerates that it is illegal for Congress to make any law(s) that would curtail your freedom of speech . It thereby
implies that you indeed , have freedom of speech . In 1791 , when the Bill Of Rights was ratified , it was commonly accepted that freedom of speech
was a " God-given" right , therefore , the framers of this document did not feel it was necessary to explicitly state that you are 'guaranteed'
freedom of speech .
The First Amendment does not guarantee you the "right" to freedom of speech . It only guarantees that you are protected from Congress passing laws
that would infringe upon your freedom of speech . To them , freedom of speech was a natural right , just as natural as sunshine and breathing . Their
intentions were to prevent CONGRESS from encroaching upon this "God-given" right .
With this in mind , it goes without saying that they considered freedom of speech to be your right . In this context , freedom of speech was
"enumerated" as a "certain right" , within the framework of the First Amendment .
Now , taking that with us as we look at the 9th Amendment again , the enumeration of freedom of speech as a certain right " shall not be construed to
deny or disparage others retained by the people ." In other words , just because they considered freedom of speech to be a right , they explicitly
state here in the 9th Amendment , that their consideration of such , should not be construed to "deny or disparage others (rights) retained by the
Simply put , your freedom of speech does not guarantee you the right to deny or disparage the rights of other people .
This is where your rights end and mine begin .
Random House Dictionary :
disparage : (1) to speak of or treat slightingly .
(to) slight : (5) to ignore contemptuously . (7) contemptuous discourtesy .
In conclusion , westboro Baptist Church has a right to freedom of speech UNTIL the exercise of that right disparages the rights of others .
westboro Baptist Church , by protesting funerals , is contemptuously ignoring the rights of the families to conduct services for their loved ones
without being harASSed and ridiculed by phelps and his minions .
westboro Baptist Church is showing contemptuous discourtesy to the deceased and their families by protesting funerals .
Therefore , westboro's actions are UNCONSTITUTIONAL according to the 9th Amendment , thereby negating their ill-conceived 1st Amendment right to
freedom of speech .
So yes , there is a Constitutional line that has been drawn by the 9th Amendment .
westboro's protests ARE NOT protected by the First Amendment . Their First Amendment right is negated by their actions , according to the 9th
Let's beat them at their own game . Leave your comments . Stars and flags don't keep a thread on the front page , additional posts do . Let's make
others aware of this freedom of speech fallacy .
edit on 12-1-2011 by okbmd because: (no reason given)