Saturday, March 12, 2011

Freedom Of Speech Is The Right To Yell Hellfire At A Crowded Funeral

So the Supreme Court has said, with regard to the activities of the Westboro Baptist Church in holding vicious protests at military funerals for gay soldiers.

The inability of the protesters to appreciate the irony of their opposition to those who gave their lives to protect WBC's bigotry is not surprising.  But one wonders why this case was fought out along First Amendment lines, when it seems clear that the mourners (especially the families of the deceased) have a clear path to damages in tort for invasion of privacy.

I'm ordinarily an uncompromising advocate of First Amendment rights.  But it's difficult for me to believe that time, place and manner regulations could not be drafted to protect the mourners and the bigots.  Such regulations are generally recognized as being necessary to preserve public order.  This is a situation that screams for that kind of protection.

For me personally, it's bad enough that, as a consequence of all this, I now agree with Sarah Palin about something.  Isn't it bad enough that I've previously found common cause with Dubya?

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