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High court rules for military funeral protesters

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posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 09:39 AM
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MSNBC.com


WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the First Amendment protects fundamentalist church members who mount attention-getting, anti-gay protests outside military funerals. The court voted 8-1 in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. The decision upheld an appeals court ruling that threw out a $5 million judgment to the father of a dead Marine who sued church members after they picketed his son's funeral.




posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 09:41 AM
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While it is a win for free speech, it does leave a bad taste in my mouth. I absolutely loathe Westboro Baptist Church and everything they do and say, but it is their right to picket peacefully. We'll see how this plays out.

/TOA



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 09:48 AM
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reply to post by The Old American
 


The biggest test of our resolve is not what we are willing to fight against happily, but what we are willing to fight for even when it hurts.
edit on 3-2-2011 by rogerstigers because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 09:49 AM
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Originally posted by The Old American
While it is a win for free speech, it does leave a bad taste in my mouth. I absolutely loathe Westboro Baptist Church and everything they do and say, but it is their right to picket peacefully. We'll see how this plays out.

/TOA


Couldn't have said it better myself. It is one of the bittersweet victories. I mean quite frankly if anyone had there freedom of speech imfringed upon it wouldn't bother me as much if it was against them.

That being said it is there right and I fought for it along with other men and women that served in the military.

I am still just waiting for them to be attacked by some pissed off family members, and frankly would serve them right.
edit on 3/2/2011 by Phantom28804 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 09:55 AM
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Originally posted by rogerstigers
reply to post by The Old American
 


The biggest test of our resolve is not what we are willing to fight against happily, but what we are willing to fight for even when it hurts.
edit on 3-2-2011 by rogerstigers because: (no reason given)


Beautifully said. Truly.


Originally posted by Phantom28804
I am still just waiting for them to be attacked by some pissed off family members, and frankly would serve them right.


I will freely admit that I would giggle at that. I'd feel bad about it, but I am only human after all.

/TOA
edit on 2-3-2011 by The Old American because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 10:00 AM
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While I despise Westboro, what they do is protected under the constitution. I'm glad to see the SCOTUS get this right. What bothers me is Samuel Alito dissented. Why? What was his reasoning? To me, this is a clear cut case of free speech...does Alito have a problem interpreting words when they are written in plain English?



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 10:05 AM
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FYI The docket is here: metroweekly.com... The dissent starts on page 23
edit on 3-2-2011 by rogerstigers because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 10:08 AM
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Originally posted by Phantom28804

Originally posted by The Old American
While it is a win for free speech, it does leave a bad taste in my mouth. I absolutely loathe Westboro Baptist Church and everything they do and say, but it is their right to picket peacefully. We'll see how this plays out.

/TOA


Couldn't have said it better myself. It is one of the bittersweet victories. I mean quite frankly if anyone had there freedom of speech imfringed upon it wouldn't bother me as much if it was against them.

That being said it is there right and I fought for it along with other men and women that served in the military.

I am still just waiting for them to be attacked by some pissed off family members, and frankly would serve them right.
edit on 3/2/2011 by Phantom28804 because: (no reason given)


Yeah I think you'd be hard pressed to find a jury to convict somebody for going after these thugs, well unless your in California or Oregon.



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 10:08 AM
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reply to post by Aggie Man
 


That is interesting because it really should have been a unanimous decision. Like them or hate them they have the right to say what they want. I mean I am not a big fan of the KKK, but I realize as long as they don't act illegally they can spout all the hate they want.
edit on 3/2/2011 by Phantom28804 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 10:12 AM
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Apparently Alito is claiming that this goes beyond the boundaries of free speech and entered the realm of emotional assult or something. Hard to interpret some of this stuff in the dissent because of attention span issues



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 10:21 AM
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I read Alito's lengthy dissent. It appears to me that he made his ruling based upon his interpretation of tort law, rather than the constitutionality of Westboro's actions.




posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 10:26 AM
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www.huffingtonpost.com...


Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion for the court. Justice Samuel Alito dissented. "What Westboro said, in the whole context of how and where it chose to say it, is entitled to 'special protection' under the First Amendment," Roberts wrote, "and that protection cannot be overcome by a jury finding that the picketing was outrageous."


While I fully support free speech rights, even for WBC, and understand why the SCOTUS had to make this ruling, I think an argument could and should be made for approaching this from a different angle - why is this not a form of stalking or harassment?. I think dealing with the issue as picketing, a protest or any form of speech is going about it the wrong way.

The fact is that WBC is targeting individuals and their families. Phelps is a civil rights attorney and he knows just what the limits are. They are most definitely trolling and treading the letter of the law, why not do it right back? We need to approach this with some imagination.



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 10:30 AM
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reply to post by kosmicjack
 


Well, I think the best approach to these people is to carefully tread the law right back at them. There was one group that would protest in front of WBC wearing large angel costumes. It was very clever because the wings and such hid the WBC signs.

Just have to be very very careful that people don't start fights.



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 10:32 AM
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That's a bunch of BS ... I understand that if this was NOT allowed it would be a major issue....but these people SHOULD NOT be protesting at funerals .... there are many places to protest but funerals are not one of them....

These people should show some G_d Damn repsect!

Maybe the soldiers should protest the church that is protesting LOL!! Tit-for-tat!

SnF for the find

AS
edit on 2-3-2011 by AeonStorm because: added



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 10:35 AM
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This isn't a surprise. Everyone pretty much already knew this is how they'd vote. Someone clearly felt strongly enough about this to pursue this regardless of the odds, but all it was was a huge waste of time and money.

States and localities handle this in their own ways with enforced boundaries, and organizations like the Patriot Guard help. It's the best we can do.

Alito dissenting is interesting. Didn't he (among others) also have some issues with other First Amendment items?

edit on 3/2/2011 by ~Lucidity because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 11:16 AM
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I believe Alito was speaking to the conversation between Westboro-ers and the father of the fallen soldier.. saying it was verbal assault or abuse... which I agree. If they wish to hold signs and act foolish, theyre constitutionally protected. If they wish to verbally assault, harass, and intimidate.. that is NOT free speech.



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 01:38 PM
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Originally posted by AeonStorm
these people SHOULD NOT be protesting at funerals


I despise Westboro Baptist Church as much as anyone but they have a right to say what they say. The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States is very clear.

"Congress shall make no law [...] abridging the freedom of speech"

The government cannot make speech illegal. It is unconstitutional. It doesn't matter whether you or I agree with what Westboro Baptist Church says. They have a right to say it.

People can argue the morality of this judgment and what Westboro Baptist Church does all they want. That is fine. But as far as the legality goes, there is no argument to have. What Westboro Baptist Church does is legal. Period.

Like I said, I despise them as much as anyone. And I wouldn't mind seeing a little vigilante justice against them. But the federal government upholding their right to freely speak is important, not just to them, but to all of us.

A lot of people are thinking about this issue emotionally. Lets think about it logically.

"I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." - Voltaire



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 01:51 PM
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Duplicate post from closed thread:

The only justice to see through this is Justice Alito. I understand the 1st amendment thinking and the slippery slope but his finding that this is 'Fighting Words' not covered by the 1st make a lot of sense.
Being from North Eastern Kansas, I know the antics of these cretins probably better than most. They have been a thorn in the side of the states residents for 30 years and sooner or later someone will meet out some 'Prairie Justice' on their inbred lawyer family and those 60-70 followers of their insane patriarch! I can almost garrrrunnnnnteee that!!! Especially now that they have been green lighted by SCOTUS, their antics will assuredly become more loud and obnoxious!

Zindo
edit on 3/2/2011 by ZindoDoone because: add last sentance



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 01:59 PM
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Originally posted by kosmicjack
www.huffingtonpost.com...


Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion for the court. Justice Samuel Alito dissented. "What Westboro said, in the whole context of how and where it chose to say it, is entitled to 'special protection' under the First Amendment," Roberts wrote, "and that protection cannot be overcome by a jury finding that the picketing was outrageous."


While I fully support free speech rights, even for WBC, and understand why the SCOTUS had to make this ruling, I think an argument could and should be made for approaching this from a different angle - why is this not a form of stalking or harassment?. I think dealing with the issue as picketing, a protest or any form of speech is going about it the wrong way.

The fact is that WBC is targeting individuals and their families. Phelps is a civil rights attorney and he knows just what the limits are. They are most definitely trolling and treading the letter of the law, why not do it right back? We need to approach this with some imagination.


They were forced to address the language in which Phelp's daughter wrote the appeal not the idea you mention. That wasn't in the writ of appeal made by Phelps. It was only the 1st amendment and it's parameters that was the basis of the appeal was filed! Phelp's family are ALL lawyers. They just happen to be very good lawyers,,,unfortunately!!
Zindo
edit on 3/2/2011 by ZindoDoone because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 02:11 PM
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As most of you I can't, with any compunction, support what WBC has said or done in the past. I do, I must, however, as a person that has the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence hanging my walls, defend that they said or did it. Again, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but abridging their rights to say what they do, no matter how reprehensible, is a path I don't want to see followed. That path eventually becomes censorship of all speech, good or bad. That way lies madness.

/TOA



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