Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Hooray for Alito!

That is not a misprint.

Justice Sam Alito is the JazzBumpa man of the day.

When this buffoon is the lone voice of reason, we are well and truly {expletive deleted}!

H/T to the LW.

Update 3/03:

First Amendment text: 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Well, that's just ambiguous as hell, isn't it!  Evidently, I'm in a minority here with Alito, with most on the left viewing this as a 1st Amendment issue.   I view it as a privacy issue.  Clearly, in this case the principles conflict.

Though it's not often thought of this way, it's worth questioning if a funeral - or, indeed, any venue for the expression of private grief - ought to be considered free and open to the public.  Further, 1st Amendment rights are intended for the expression of political speech - such that dissent may not be squelched.

In my view, the actions of Westboro Baptist Church not only are NOT protected free speech, they are engaging in hate speech that verges on hate crime.  These people are so vile, that they would eagerly organize a demonstration at the funeral of a child who died under tragic circumstances.   The only thing that separates them from terrorists who bomb mourners at the funerals of their previous victims is the level of their violence - not the evil of their intent.

But that is not the point. The point is that not all speech qualifies as deserving 1st Amendment protection.  Specifically, neither "fighting words" nor defamation are protected.  Neither is criminal solicitation, in this case to commit hate crimes against homosexuals, which can be inferred from their behavior and insistence that god hates fags.  Beyond that, I would argue that the actions of Westboro Baptist Church are tantamount to the crime of extortion - an attempt to get the people and government of the United States to go along with their hatred of gays and their attempts to deny them basic human rights in exchange for their good behavior.  One might just as well apply free speech rights to the tantrum of a two-year-old.

The court case was brought by the father of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who died in Iraq in 2006. In his lawsuit, Albert Snyder, the Marine's father, said the church group violated his rights when it "intentionally incited emotional distress" by picketing his son's Maryland funeral, even though the protest wasn't visible and couldn't be heard from the church.

In rejecting that argument, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that vigorous public debate trumps emotional reactions to hateful speech. "Speech is powerful," he said. "As a nation we have chosen a different course – to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate."

Roberts - quite willfully in my estimation - misses the point.   Whomever you or I or some retard in Topeka considers to be the object of god's hatred is not an issue worthy of public debate. (And to consider it so comes perilously close to respecting an establishment of religion.)   In contrast, it is simply a manifestation of an extremely ugly prejudice.


1 comment:

Jerry Critter said...

Alito, the voice of reason. Who would have thunk it?