USSC Gives Westboro Victory @ Gay Funerals!
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03-03-2011, 10:49 AM
 
RE: USSC Gives Westboro Victory @ Gay Funerals!
(02-03-2011 03:32 PM)cfhmagnet Wrote:  
(02-03-2011 03:25 PM)Kikko Wrote:  
Quote:While I really don't like WBBC, I have to admit that they do have a right to say what they want.
They have every right to say what they want, but the question is 'where'. I consider funerals to be a private event where freedom of speech doesn't fully apply. Bars have the right to remove louts, so I think families should be able to remove louts too from their private events.
In the case of funerals I think families should have the right to remove louts... Viking style Smile
Oh do go into detail, so the rest of us can live vicariously imagining the end of the Phelps inbred brigade.Tongue

Free speech is one thing. Hate speech is quite another. Sadly, the USSC missed that. This whole issue is regarding proximity. Westboro can show those who have the stomach to watch, what kind of whack jobs they are sure enough. They have every right to stand and garner attention as sick, deviant, hate filled trash. However, it's a matter of proximity and the content of their "protests", that of hate speech, that is the legal issue.
Hate speech is not protected by the First.

I dare say a white supremacist group would never be entitled to exercise their First amendment rights attending an Obama rally, during the coming 2012 election stomp while yelling racist slurs, holding signs insulting a black man in the white house, etc... Westboro shouldn't be tolerated for their hate speech either.

Bad decision SCotUS. Bad, bad!
Then again, I'm certain it would be a different picture all together, if the church showed up at one of the funeral of a USSC Jurists departed military family member. Rolleyes
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03-03-2011, 12:16 PM
RE: USSC Gives Westboro Victory @ Gay Funerals!
(03-03-2011 10:49 AM)GassyKitten Wrote:  Free speech is one thing. Hate speech is quite another. Sadly, the USSC missed that.

This is not an issue of "hate speech", it's an issue of political speech and the right to dissent in a free society. Also, the previous case you mentioned is not relevant. This is not a situation of yelling on someone's face, it is a case of the right to peaceful assembly to express an unpopular decision. It was not even a case dealing with time, place or manner as the police required them to be some distance from the actual funeral and the morons agreed to that without any issue or resistance. It did not seem to even be an issue in the appeal.

You raise an interesting question on the Obama comment, though. I suspect that they would be given their right to be heard, but would probably be required to be some where out of the way. The concept of "free speech zones" started during, I think, the 2004 election. Personally, I find the entire concept revolting as the whole country is supposed to be a free speech zone, but it has been defended as a reasonable restriction on the time and place of speech. I disagree with that, but I don't get the final vote. Anyway, I'm fairly certain that is how the white supremacist group in your example would be handled. And, we may actually get a chance to find out.

But, getting back to the original topic, I think here is the point: free speech and the right to voice an unpopular and even vile opinion or point of view is the essence of freedom in a democratic society. If we start deciding that it only applies to those who do not offend us we risk opening the flood gates to stopping all speech.

Suffice to say, I completely disagree with your view of the outcome. The rights for people to prove they are idiots to as many people as they can get to listen to them is the most fundamental right in a democracy and I will sleep better at night knowing that my right to dissent is still respected and upheld. As for the poor father who had to bury his son under those conditions, this the right that his son put on a uniform to defend. He deserves better but at least he died defending a free country.

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03-03-2011, 04:43 PM
 
RE: USSC Gives Westboro Victory @ Gay Funerals!
(03-03-2011 12:16 PM)BnW Wrote:  
(03-03-2011 10:49 AM)GassyKitten Wrote:  Free speech is one thing. Hate speech is quite another. Sadly, the USSC missed that.

This is not an issue of "hate speech", it's an issue of political speech and the right to dissent in a free society. Also, the previous case you mentioned is not relevant. This is not a situation of yelling on someone's face, it is a case of the right to peaceful assembly to express an unpopular decision...

I would disagree completely with your observation regarding the USSC decision in Chaplinksy V. New Hampshire and it's presumed irrelevance to the case of Snyder v Phelps.


Facts of the Case: Chaplinksy v. New Hampshire

Chaplinsky, a Jehovah's Witness, called a city marshal a "God-damned racketeer" and "a damned fascist" in a public place. He was arrested and convicted under a state law for violating a breach of the peace.

Question:

Does the application of the statute violate Chaplinsky's freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment?

Conclusion:

No. Some forms of expression--among them obscenity and fighting words--do not convey ideas and thus are not subject to First Amendment protection. In this case, Chaplinsky uttered fighting words, i.e., words that "inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace."


As anyone knows who has witnessed the Phelps psycho posse first hand, there is nothing peaceful regarding their assembly. They spit, call names, wave fists, feign kicking at passers by and even verbally attack children (using their own offspring to do so as well) who are weeping for their lost mom or daddy.

Furthermore, the Phelps clan demonstrations violate the tenets of peaceful assembly, as is in evidence by local law enforcement in the case of this Snyder issue, to dispatch ambulance, police and SWAT to the Catholic church wherein the Snyder/Phelps/WBC matter initiated. Thereby indicating a concern for a clear and present danger (Schenk v. United States 1919 ""speech could be punished ‘if the words are used in such circumstances and of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substansive evils that Congress has a right to prevent." Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes) due solely to Phelps initiating the threat through the assemblage of his church on site and so as to pose a threat to local citizens in residence. Which is illegal. As is invasion of privacy and harassment, which is at issue and yet another unlawful, unprotected violation the Phelps clan contribute to with intent, in these gatherings.

Let us not forget that those who attend a funeral for their fallen loved one are entitled to the right to peacefully assemble, under the protection of the First.

When the WBC violates even one law, they are prohibited from committing to the exercise of picketing because they can not violate one (actually many) law(s) and remain protected by one other law so as to commit said violation.


Bush43's signing into law in 2006 the [b]'Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act' [/b], is what insures the WBC group "respects" picketing funerals at a distance. Therefore, "...the morons agreed to that without any issue or resistance." is not because they have it in their heart to show that level of respect. It's because the police presence due to a clear and present danger and acting as agents to keep the peace, enforce the law that forces the Phelps group to protest at a distance of 300 feet from a cemetery under control of the National Cemetery Administration. While the fine for non-compliance being levied at $100 thousand dollars and up to 1 year in prison guarantees it.
Phelps may be a whack job, but his synapses fire enough still to know he'd last less than an hour in prison, so it's not decent that he's spewing lest we see his threatening behavior as fitting the definition of acting the asshole in public. He's not rallying against government, policy, etc... He's threatening, harassing and intimidating free citizens and violating their right to peaceful assembly while acting as a clear and present danger to local residents.

SCotUS got it wrong, as case law shows. Sadly what's worse than the Phelps clan having vocal cords and saliva affording opportunity to screech and spit hate, is that of all the robes that heard this Snyder v. Phelps case only one Jurist knew that and voted against WBC.

(*As for the "Free Speech Zone" matter, I think if you would have read my earlier writings in this thread you would have seen that that was indeed mentioned and it was installed under the Bush Jr. (Bush43) term.)

This matter was debated quite well before the SCotUS decision, here. Case law reference excerpts from same have been used without permission, but with respect, in my reply.
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03-03-2011, 07:48 PM
RE: USSC Gives Westboro Victory @ Gay Funerals!
I'm really not sure where to even being with a reply to all that. Suffice to say that your legal interpretations are simply flawed and not consistent with First Amendment juris prudence. Decisions limiting individual freedoms that are specifically protected by the Constitution are always to be strictly construed, and the Chaplinsky test is used in a very limited set of circumstances. Here, Phelps and his followers have not specifically challenged anyone, there are merely voicing an opinion. That does not constitute "fighting words" any more than burning a flag does (which is also a protected form of speech).

The idea that you are not peacefully assembling because other people come with violence on their minds or because police protection is required is just absurd. If that was the case then Martin Luther King Jr. would have also been violating the law when he had his various protest marches.

The state has the right to put reasonable restrictions on time, place and manner of speech but, beyond that, you can say pretty much whatever you want. There are some limitations where you may cause an immediate danger, like yelling "fire!" in a crowded movie theater and starting a stampede or picking a fight with someone, but beyond that you're free to say what you want to say, and you very well should be.

You're certainly entitled to be disgusted by Phelps and his followers, and you're even entitled to wish the law was different. I guess ultimately you're even free to decided that the case law is different than what it is, but, ultimately, the USSC followed existing law and the intent of the Constitution.

Btw, I love your current signature.

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03-03-2011, 08:21 PM
 
RE: USSC Gives Westboro Victory @ Gay Funerals!
(03-03-2011 07:48 PM)BnW Wrote:  I'm really not sure where to even being with a reply to all that. Suffice to say that your legal interpretations are simply flawed and not consistent with First Amendment juris prudence. Decisions limiting individual freedoms that are specifically protected by the Constitution are always to be strictly construed, and the Chaplinsky test is used in a very limited set of circumstances. Here, Phelps and his followers have not specifically challenged anyone, there are merely voicing an opinion. That does not constitute "fighting words" any more than burning a flag does (which is also a protected form of speech).
As said, I didn't write the laws I borrowed with respect from the linked debate wherein they were contained. I'll take the observations of Jurists and attorneys at that site as my support for arguing my point of view and supported by their observations that concur as cited points of law.

Quote:The idea that you are not peacefully assembling because other people come with violence on their minds or because police protection is required is just absurd. If that was the case then Martin Luther King Jr. would have also been violating the law when he had his various protest marches.
You misconstrued that part entirely. Please go back and read it again. The Phelps crew are the one's not peacefully assembling when they present themselves in a manner that harasses the general public, afford a clear and present danger and violate those who attend a funeral their inalienable right to peacefully assemble so as to grieve.
It's selective enforcement, as I see it. (Note the crossed eyes? Wink ) If the First was absolute, per your observation in this case not withstanding, we wouldn't witness capitol police forcing voter citizens from the halls of the Legislative branch while in session, for daring to present of themselves the same demeanor as that decent afforded by the Phelps crew.

As someone noted previously, certainly that it's a matter of a church group being challenged brings to mind it is the religious angle that garnered the decision to arrive in WBC's favor, as if it were a double issue. Freedom of speech and religion.

Quote:The state has the right to put reasonable restrictions on time, place and manner of speech but, beyond that, you can say pretty much whatever you want. There are some limitations where you may cause an immediate danger, like yelling "fire!" in a crowded movie theater and starting a stampede or picking a fight with someone, but beyond that you're free to say what you want to say, and you very well should be.

You're certainly entitled to be disgusted by Phelps and his followers, and you're even entitled to wish the law was different. I guess ultimately you're even free to decided that the case law is different than what it is, but, ultimately, the USSC followed existing law and the intent of the Constitution.
When the USSC ruled on what is defined as hate speech prior to this latest, given the tenor of WBC pickets, we'll have to agree to disagree. Smile

Quote: Btw, I love your current signature.
Thank you. Smile
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03-03-2011, 10:30 PM
 
RE: USSC Gives Westboro Victory @ Gay Funerals!
Why the Supreme Court Ruled for Westboro
Time Article By Sean Gregory Thursday, Mar. 03, 2011
*LINK*
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04-03-2011, 07:42 AM
RE: USSC Gives Westboro Victory @ Gay Funerals!
I'm pleasantly surprised by that Time article and how they were able to explain the legal nuances of that ruling. More often then not magazines like Time completely miss the real law in these rulings. But, that was a pretty good job, I thought. I did laugh, though, at the comment about Alito accusing his colleagues of just being mean. I can't recall the last time Alito was worried about the little guy.

As for you other comments, first we're not talking about absolute free speech here. The courts opinion is fairly narrow and, as the Time article pointed out, they don't get into the issue of various laws that are trying to restrict Westboro's access to funerals. They will be hearing that issue soon enough, I suspect, though. I'm not familiar with all 44 state laws on this so I can't have hazard a guess on the outcome, but I suspect it will come down to what the court has done in the past: what are reasonable restrictions on time, place or manner of speech.

Speaking of which, whether or not the right to peaceful assembly exists in perpetuity has been already settled: you don't have a Constitutional right to occupy a government building. That said, I think removing peaceful protesters by force after you refused to meet with their leaders was a ridiculous thing to do, but I'm not the governor of Wisconsin. And, I doubt he will be for much longer either.

Finally, regarding the board you linked: all I can say is that if you ever find yourself in serious need of a lawyer, my free advice to you is DO NOT hire the guy who cited the Chaplinsky decision as precedent to restrict Westboro's rights here.

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04-03-2011, 09:37 AM
 
RE: USSC Gives Westboro Victory @ Gay Funerals!
(04-03-2011 07:42 AM)BnW Wrote:  Finally, regarding the board you linked: all I can say is that if you ever find yourself in serious need of a lawyer, my free advice to you is DO NOT hire the guy who cited the Chaplinsky decision as precedent to restrict Westboro's rights here.
[Image: 4.gif] Duly noted. Wink

I read of one counter protest facing down the Westboro psycho clown posse during the Matthew Shepard funeral. They were a group known as Angels of Peace.They wore giant angel wings and white frocks so as to block the phelps crew and their hideous insulting hate filled signs, from view of the mourners entering the church.
From what I understand these Angels plan to meet the Westboro bunch in any State they attend with their hate filled screed. Made possible because Westboro proudly posts their picket schedule on the church website.
The last gathering I was made aware of was in January of this year in Arizona.

If the clowns come back to my area, I just may sprout wings. I loathe bullies and bigots who happen to very often share the same skin. I may have been born into this world on my back, wet and from between two legs, but once I learned how to stand on my own two feet I never looked back. Angel
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04-03-2011, 03:21 PM
RE: USSC Gives Westboro Victory @ Gay Funerals!
The "Angels" go back to the murder of Mathew Sheppard. If you watch the movie "The Laramie Project" (based on the play of the same name), they explain the whole symbolism of it. I knew that people in Tuscon recreated this idea to thwart Phelps and Co. when they wanted to protest at the funeral of the little girl who was murdered in the Congresswoman Giffords shooting but I did not know the group had continued beyond that.

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04-03-2011, 04:25 PM
 
RE: USSC Gives Westboro Victory @ Gay Funerals!
(04-03-2011 03:21 PM)BnW Wrote:  The "Angels" go back to the murder of Mathew Sheppard. If you watch the movie "The Laramie Project" (based on the play of the same name), they explain the whole symbolism of it. I knew that people in Tuscon recreated this idea to thwart Phelps and Co. when they wanted to protest at the funeral of the little girl who was murdered in the Congresswoman Giffords shooting but I did not know the group had continued beyond that.
I am no longer a member of Facebook, but Angel Action (LINK) has a website there.

I could have been afforded incorrect information about AA, though from what I was told they have made it a point of showing up quite often during Phelps & Co. protests. Perhaps with the FB account AA can dispatch members in those area's where the Westboro church website has posted their picket schedule.
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