Supreme Court Sides With Westboro Baptist Church

Submitted by: Volsunga 6 years ago in
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/02/AR2011030207022.html

The cost of free speech. Westboro says to expect even more protests now.
There are 135 comments:
Male 42
In Britain, you can not protest against religion or race.

Unless you are a muslim.
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Female 177
Boo to hate speech. Why don`t they just make it so you have to get a permit to protest at funerals and all these places, and then make it impossibly hard to get the permit lol. Then they can just take them to jail lol. Ehhh i dunno..
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Male 139
Hey there USA ..why don`t you get with the times?

"In Canada, advocating genocide or inciting hatred[10"> against any `identifiable group` is an indictable offence under the Criminal Code of Canada with maximum prison terms of two to fourteen years. An `identifiable group` is defined as `any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.` It makes exceptions for cases of statements of truth, and subjects of public debate and religious doctrine."

Hate Laws of Canada
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Male 1,122
That tiny difference between Canada and the US is a good one.

In Canada you can`t intentionally propagate hate.
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Male 356
Freedom of speech is overrated.
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Female 3,598
what the hell... isn`t what these people spouting off HATE SPEECH? don`t we have laws against that? what if these westboro nutjobs were picketing against a different demographic? say, black people for instance. there would be a bit of a different outcome if that were the case i`d say, but we`re just protecting hate now.
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Male 946
Although I believe freedom of speech is sacrosanct, I can`t help but think this is a bad decision. I think a good solution would be if the courts said religious protests should not be allowed outside of certain radius of thier own church. You could even use the same precedent that was used to get rid of christmas trees in public schools or religious icons out of government buildings.
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Female 136
this angers and saddens me
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Male 15,832
The solution to this is simple. Just pass a law stating that anyone convicted of beating the living crap out of a funeral protester shall be subject to a fine of $1.00.
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Female 87
Of course it`s the right decision. It protects your right to protest against it.
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Female 2,927
time for funeral goers to stock up on paint ball guns.
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Male 2,384
america=fail
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Male 48
Free speech shouldn`t have exceptions. Everyone, every where should have the right to say whatever stupid poo they want.

"I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
-Voltaire
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Male 2,796
"so cyber-bullying is a big no no but this is ok?"

Probably the best point yet
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Male 342
The group recently turned up at the funeral of Elizabeth Edwards and declared that 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, a victim of the Tucson shootings in January, was "better off dead."

You`re right, US GOV, these people deserve rights.
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Male 49
in my city we have a biker gang that waits for the protesters and scares the willies out of them when they show up. =)
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Male 10,338
"The funeral home itself is typically private property, but the sidewalk right in front of it is fair game"

Usually, the city they get their permits from, make them stay 1000 feet away from the event they are protesting.
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Male 139
Someone should follow the church lady to their protests, which they publicly announce, and shoot her right in her drating face. Announcing before-hand that you were sent from God to punish thee. How Ironic would that be?

Come on Americans ..I know one of you out there is crazy enough.
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Male 25,416
meh..
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Female 13
@inversegrav
The funeral home itself is typically private property, but the sidewalk right in front of it is fair game
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Male 178
Hey, anyone know where Phelps Mom and Dad are buried? I got an idea......
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Male 18
so cyber-bullying is a big no no but this is ok?
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Male 247
Nicest people on the planet.
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Male 10,338
They usually have to be 1000 feet away from the venue the event is taking place.
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Male 770
Possible loophole: (?)
are not funeral homes and cemetaries private property? They can be kicked off private property. I think. I`m not a lawyer. as a resdult I dont know the law, but at least I still have a human soul.
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Male 16
I cant wait until old man phelps dies. I will picket his funeral and their church for weeks. Lets start to think of things to put on our signs!
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Male 330
@Kingpong

Yeah, I`ve heard the term living document. Studied Constitutional Law too. Freedom of Speech isn`t one of those things to evolve, it`s pretty clear no matter what the context. So, unless you`re in the business of revoking people`s rights, the court made the right decision for once.
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Male 382
Ugh.. As much as I hate it, I agree with the Supreme Court on this ruling.
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Male 521
@ CrakrJak

Please tell your dad thank you for his and the other Patriot Guard`s support. I mean it.
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Female 39
Micktrex,

I think you have our 1st Amendment confused with the 2nd.

I don`t understand why what these dregs of humanity say is NOT classified as hate speech, which is NOT protected. They keep everything in the third person i.e. "God hates fags" instead of "We hate fags". Is there really such a fine line? I don`t think silencing these people at funerals subverts ANYONE`S liberty here so I`m sick of hearing the "slippery slope" argument.
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Male 521
*sigh*

I`m Air Force and a Christian so I have double reason to dislike these folks. We just lost two more guys in Germany to an extremist nut job and these clowns get to celebrate over it...

Free speech was SUPPOSED to be a way for humanity to advance (Martin Luther King is a great example of a positive use of freedom of speech while Libya is an example of extreme suppression of the masses). Instead, these folks are taking advantage of it to spit venom, hatred, and ignorance with no real cause or reason. What on earth are they hoping to accomplish? Who do they think their helping?
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Male 5,189
I know what Ima do when Phelps dies. >:D

I would gladly do some time to get a punch in on him.
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Male 2,796
I will tell you how to beat these people... but it will never really happen because some of you screwballs are idiots.

1. If you know where they will be protesting, start making the same signs they are making. Go to the funeral (or whatever) wearing similar clothes and holding the exact same signs. All of you must do this.

2. Be happy you are doing it.

3. If it is a dead service member, put up a large banner saying, "we gather here today not because we mourn, but that we are glad he is dead."

4. At any opportunity everyone needs to verbally thank the WBC in a very polite and tactful manner for showing up and celebrating with you.

5. Everyone needs to write letters expressing sincere gratitude and affection for their cause.

6. Most importantly, know the laws and don`t break them. Because they know them and will never break them.
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Male 155
free speech is great. for me, it is the convenience of a bunch of people holding signs heralding their douchebaggery. it save me the trouble of having to sort through my community parsing out douchebags one by one.
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Male 141
I still don`t understand these protests...
I get they`re blaming the war on homosexuality in America or something retarded but it`s not like they assume every soldier is gay. And how can they know that every soldier was supporting the gay lifestyle?
It just comes across as "What`s the most hurtful, tasteless thing we can do?"
"Burn muslim babies?"
"Not that far."
"Compare dead soldiers to faggots?"
"I like it."
Besides, America. Guns are legal over there. And tazers. If a WBC member interrupts your funeral I say you have the right to express your displeasure. It`s just free speech. :D
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Male 559
If you don`t believe in free speech for everyone, then you don`t believe in free speech for anyone.
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Male 1,360
uh-oh free-speech enthusiasts...
maybe since cemeteries are fenced off they could get a law saying they are private to the deceased and bereaved to prevent individuals who aren`t nice from pushing an awful and hateful biased archaic agenda. dont get me wrong, i have no problem with crazy christians pushing agendas on busy street corners or rock concerts (especially rock concerts! oh what fun it is to call them names back!) but funerals? of dead soldiers?
funeral crashers get kicked out of said events, but this new law creates opportunities to the deceitful hate mongering extreme fundies.
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Male 1,010
There seems to be a large misconception here that being in favor of denying the WBC the right to picket funerals, suddenly excludes anyone from supporting the freedom of speech. Keep in mind that governments around the world have almost identical constitutional rights as the USA, but only practice this one in a more nuanced manner.

Do not forget that the Human Rights, and this is just as important as any other constitutional right, does grant any human being the right to privacy, and to have their private life respected. Anyone must agree that burying your loved ones during a funeral is a highly private moment, protected by the Human Rights. The same human rights that was ideas of the enlightenment philosophers before the revolutions of the late 1700`s - just like the 1st. amendement. Now, comparing these rights with a newspapers right to reaveal things like corruption might cause the HR to yield, but the WBC``s right to picket funerals?? Never!
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Male 2,850
Isn`t there an easy way around this?

The volume of their protests is an issue. Why can`t local governments enact laws against excessive noise near cemeteries?

They can still have their protests. They just won`t be allowed to shout or use megaphones. They can still speak in a normal talking volume.

They`re still getting their message across, without disrupting others nearby.

It`s freedom of speech, after all, not freedom of shouting.
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Male 2,145
The sad side of free speech. We protect their rights to be non-nice individuals.
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Female 55
I don`t agree with them - at all - but if they take away their right to free speech, where would it stop?
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Male 359
sbeelz "Maybe you should check YOUR facts- that`s the New Black Panther Party..."

Now you are picking pepper out of fly $hit.

sbeelz "If your behavior is causing people to feel so upset that they are compelled to abandon funeral services for a family member, then that is harassment, plain and simple.”

Learn what –harassment- and –compelled- is under the law and not what you think it is with arm-chair lawyer interpretations.
Also understand the legal difference between –picket- and –demonstration- before you heave a sigh of relief.

sbeelz "...the fact is, if the New Black Panthers were picketing white people`s funerals with signs that said "burn in hell cracker!", they`d be hauled off to jail in an instant"

Oh a fact is it? Like if they were to stand on the street calling for say; the murder of whites and white babies?

Stop thinking with your feelings.
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Male 359
urbanlegend "felicific calculus"

HA! OK. Now we have a thinker chiming in!

So now one must weigh the variables as well as if any given party, or parties, are entitled to, or have a reasonable expectation of freedom from negative emotional reaction or reactions.

The answer is of course, No. This is because an individual or group of individuals can not be quantified against any other individual or group of individuals.

But thank God for you and that brain of yours kid. Keep using it.
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Male 359
Lionhart2 "BUT its even more immoral to disrespect someone`s final ceremony."

NO!

Lionhart you are one of the few on this site that uses your head. Do no get mentally lazy on me now. If it is immoral then it is immoral. It isnt "more immoral" to do some other thing therefor justifying a lesser immorality. If it is wrong it is wrong. Full Stop! Compromise, or do not; But do not justify.

Frankly, I have come to expect more of you.
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Male 359
NexusLetumIf "If can`t yell fire in a crowded theater, then why can they rub salt in the wounds of someone`s family who just died?"

Because one puts you "In Danger of Harm" and the other doesnt.

Look Nexus, these guys are douchebags. But if we do not defend the rights of the douchebags, then there isnt real freedom of speech.
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Male 2,988
I was hoping this had to do with the websites being F`d up by anon and other peeps but no. Its about the right to picket a funeral? Boring. WBC should just be renamed the Church of Trolls.
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Male 405
D:
Hopefully Westboro knows how everyone else views them...
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Male 740
felicific calculus
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Male 70
Also, if you`re anti-gay, chances are your farts smell like latex. Just sayin`.
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Male 70
Thor will strike them down with his man-hammer. It has been foretold. . . . . SIKE! Just kidding. Can you imagine?! That`d be like somebody claiming that everyone who doesn`t agree with them will burn in fire for eternity and that the deity they worship personally garaunteed that it would happen. . . . . Oh, wait.
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Male 17,511
Lionhart: My dad is a patriot guard rider, I`m sure they`ll be able to organize a rather large protest when Fred Phelps drops dead.

I`m sure the motors will be roaring and the horns blaring.
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Male 3,076
@yudontn0me I think that Schr0dinger is being sarcastic, or else you and him are complete idiots violence is never the answer. yeas the members of WBC are complete idiots but beating sense into them is not the way to go...
I not saying that I wouldn`t slap them on the face, but I would not slap them on the face to get a point. I would be slapping them because they are complete idiots.
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Male 675
This is a church, a church is supposed to be a congregation of worship, not a picket line for morality. Churches are supposed to stay out of politics, it is one of the stipulations to being a tax free organization. I do believe that this is a political protest, and hence, is a violation of this stipulation; and as such, I think a little something is due to Uncle Sam for all the smurfed up stuff they`re doing.
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Male 586
non-nice individuals
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Male 8,300
Because guys, I`m a Conscientious Objector. I disagree with all military action and violence, on moral grounds.

BUT its even more immoral to disrespect someone`s final ceremony on this earth, the way these douchebags do.
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Female 136
Protip: Free speech does not apply when you interfere with the rights of others.

Technically WBC, while morally and socially deplorable, has done nothing the interferes with these people`s right to grieve. Oh wait, yeah it does. If I can`t yell fire in a crowded theater, then why can they rub salt in the wounds of someone`s family who just died? What WBC does is subvert these funerals to be about THEIR issues, not about the grieving family`s time to say goodbye in the manner they choose. At least Alito recognized this.
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Male 8,300
Ok, promise me one thing America: when that old gray turd father at Westboro dies (and it can`t be that long away, surely - the daughter has to be at least 60 from the look of her!), I want all of America to turn out to the funeral with picket signs and picket the bastard`s funeral.

Spread the word across cyberspace. Register websites for planning it. Write to colleges and synagogues and mosques. Take the word to the streets! When it happens, I want to see the biggest protest in history and see how the drat THEY like it!
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Male 1,010
I agree with the judge dissenting. Our constitution, like your first amendement, § 100 says that "There must be freedom of speech." And then it is emphasized "..freedom to criticize the government."

It`s important to look at the motives behind a law when you enterpret it. I think that`s what Alito Jr. did. The point of the law is to ensure people have the freedom to have a political debate and to criticize governments and establishments. But freedom, in all forms comes together with responsibilities. The picketing of funerals does not serve any real purpose, and it is highly disturbing towards people grieveing.

It is interesting though to look at how alike our constitutions are but how differentely they are enterpreted.
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Male 291
I honestly think that these people have a death wish, they are protesting MILITARY funerals, do you not think that one of these days they are gonna pick the wrong family and grandpa will bust out his military rifle and kill them? It is inevitable.
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Male 2,868
@nettech98- thanks for posting that. I guess I should have read that before reacting. I understand the rationale for their decision, and like I said, I`d rather have a Supreme Court that is cautious about restricting speech. But I was happy to read that Maryland passed a law against picketing funerals, because I don`t believe that there is ANY place in the public discourse for that kind of behavior for any reason whatsoever.
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Male 51
U mad.
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Male 1,051
"*something* needs to be done about it."

ever try ignoring their petty banter? I mean if you just pretend they don`t exist and don`t acknowledge them at all they become something of little consequence. I think a big part of it is the media for focusing on them. It`s hard but making them feel insignificant through giving them the cold shoulder is what I do. I await the day that the news focuses on things that matter and not this petty dribble.
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Male 2,868
@Schr0dinger- Maybe you should check YOUR facts- that`s the New Black Panther Party, which is capitalizing on the name Black Panther, but has nothing to do with the actual Black Panther Party from the 60`s. And the fact is, if the New Black Panthers were picketing white people`s funerals with signs that said "burn in hell cracker!", they`d be hauled off to jail in an instant.
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Male 2,868
"AND if the family members feel -tormented-, they can leave the area freely"

We`re talking about families attending the funerals of loved-ones. If your behavior is causing people to feel so upset that they are compelled to abandon funeral services for a family member, then that is harassment, plain and simple.
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Male 96
@irishjesus
People have. That`s how the WBC makes money. By filing and winning lawsuits against people that they taunt into assaulting them at their demos. So if yer gonna do it, be careful, smart, and quick.
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Male 1,073
For all of you who continue to disagree and say you don`t understand, READ THE DECISION

It was very specific to the circumstances of THIS ONE EVENT (in fact only SOME of this one event).

It was not a blanket permit for the WBC to do whatever, say whatever, whenever they please.

Once again, the Supreme Court was asked if the limited facts of the decision of a lower court were or were not valid based on the First Amendment.

Speech CAN BE and IS regulated in many ways.
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Male 845
i agree with Schr0dinger. unless hes being sarcastic
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Male 91
This crap is illegal in Canada.
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Male 4,290
Fortunately, the Phelps family and members of the WBC are banned from entering the UK.
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Male 1,744
i hope wbc members get 1000 ppl protesting their funerals when they die
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Male 2,372
As much as we would like to see these guys burn, the Supreme Court absolutely made the correct decision.
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Male 359
Hat-Trick "Some people just need to be slapped across the face and told to shut the f### up!"

YES! EXACTLY!

Violence and submission through tyranny is always the best answer. Who needs a bunch of silly things like liberty or rights?

BEAT THEM DOWN AND SILENCE THEIR VOICE!

That is true progress.
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Male 127
Some people just need to be slapped across the face and told to shut the f### up!
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Male 359
zekumi "It`s painful for me to be aware that such vile, nauseating people exist.

This is clearly, clearly wrong, and *something* needs to be done about it."

There are those that say the same thing about gays. They find them "vile and nauseating" and dont want them to exist. They see being gay as "clearly" wrong. Should something be done about gay people?
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Female 400
I really hate us. It`s painful for me to be aware that such vile, nauseating people exist.

This is clearly, clearly wrong, and *something* needs to be done about it.
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Male 359
Yes almightybob1 we can. And we should.
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Male 4,290
If they can picket a funeral parlour, surely we can picket their church?
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Male 256
you know we never see them protesting in the hard areas of the USA. Places where the people are just rough. If westboro is so serious about that devil message they are preaching why not put it in an area thats really going to make national news. I could hear the news headline now, 12 westboro members dead after gunfire broke out for deceased (instert whatever name here). United States Marine Corps
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Male 359
fiizok you are not overly bright or informed. Please click >here<

And next time check your facts before you run your mouth.

Good day sir.
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Male 191
This is ridiculous. Debating an issue is one thing, but the maltreatment of individuals shouldn`t be tolerated, especially the cruel exploitation of unrelated individuals simply for media coverage.

The heart of the matter isn`t the picketing of the funeral, but Westboro`s penchant of aggressively attacking people who disagree with them.

I honestly doubt that anyone associated with Westboro Baptist Cult would pass even the simplest sanity exam, and I can only hope that this ends soon.
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Male 591
Schr0dinger, there`s nothing funny about calling for the slaughter of infants. What I find hilarious is that you seem to think it really happens.
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Male 73
Supreme Court held up a Constitutionally mandated right??! And this is news how??
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Male 359
People this isnt harassment. They are in a public place on public property (streets and sidewalks nearby) and they are not -threatening- anyone. AND if the family members feel -tormented-, they can leave the area freely. To do this outside ones home is another story. Then you could have "harassment" as you can not be expected to leave your home.

These people are a$$h0les and what they are doing is ugly. But it isnt harassment.

Um, fiizok, whats so "hilarious" about calling for the slaughter of infants?
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Male 591
Black Panthers stand on the street shouting that blacks need to kill white babies? That`s hilarious!
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Male 359
These horrid people are protected for the same reason that the Black Panthers are protected when they stand on the street shouting that blacks need to kill white babies. It has nothing to do with religion or the lack there of. Its about freedom to say what you wish. This isnt yelling FIRE in a crowded theater. It will not cause reactionary harm. And the whole "This is hate speech" argument is pretty weak and sad. Frankly the notion of Hate Speech & Hate Crime legislation is just ridiculous (but that is another topic) at its core.

The point is that we MUST protect the rights of filthy rotten scum like the Black Panthers and WBC because either EVERYONE has free speech, or NO ONE has free speech. There is no middle ground.

If you can not see that, then you do not understand freedom at all.
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Male 32
Freedom of speech has gone too far. Sometimes I find it hard to have pride in my country.
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Male 193
But, surely there must be exceptions to this free speech rule!
I mean, if I were to go over to one of my neighbor`s houses and say vile things about them into a bullhorn, I would definitely be incarcerated for my actions.
But the Westboro Baptist Church says slanderous things about multiple groups of people, and actually promotes VIOLENCE against them...
and the U.S. Supreme Court, the highest court of the land, allows it.

I don`t...I don`t understand. Is it because they do it under the guise of God?
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Male 2,868
While I`d MUCH rather see the Supreme Court err on the side of free speech than on the other side, I don`t agree with this decision. Yes, the WBC has the right to publicly express their message. But when they picket people`s funerals, that is harassment. Harassment is most definitely NOT protected free speech. If I were to yell insults at a funeral for someone simply because I didn`t like that person and wanted to express my dislike to their grieving family, I`d get hauled off by the cops- and rightfully so. The fact that the WBC is expressing a religious and political message is irrelevant- when they picket funerals, they are harassing grieving families.
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Male 483
Seriously, why hasn`t an angry mob beat the sh** out of them yet??
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Male 4,014
Frankly, this ruling makes me glad to be an American. And people around the world might catch a glimpse of what it is to be American.
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Male 391
Free speech needs to go alongside freedom to kill scum.
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Male 4,014
I`m fine with this.

This is the same principle behind the reason the ACLU represented Nazis. Yet conservatives hate the ACLU. CHECK U CONSTITUTION CONSERVATIVES.

"so if they tried the exact same thing today they would be in violation of the law."

LOL, yeah, and that law would withstand a first amendment analysis.....
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Male 490
The supreme court was right in this, for when you stop one person`s speech, who`s speech will you stop next?
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Male 639
@FoSchizle, the Constitution was redone literally 2 years after it was written. Have you ever heard of the term a "living document"? Because that was what it was intended to be.
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Male 136
@Brimstone One - I agree completely
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Male 1,931
I understand why the court ruled the way they did. Within the confines of the law they have the right to say and do what they want. Luckily though, most states are moving to ban these types of protests at these funerals.
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Male 136
pisses me off, free speech and protest are different than harassment.

these people harass others, they don`t protest
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Male 106
If you actually read the court transcripts, you can tell the judges disagreed with WBC`s actions, but were afraid of the slippery slope that ruling against them could create.
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Male 17
WBC only matter because our dumbpoo media decides to give them attention whenever they decide to throw a tantrum. If they truly piss you off, counterprotest. Picket outside their houses and churches. Show them how you feel.
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Male 43
Seems to me that there must be a right & wrong above human standards, because it seems that this whole LEX est REX thing is failing big time.
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Male 1,073
@Volsunga: The Supreme Court only decides Constitutional issues, and only things that are brought before them.

The Constitutional issue was whether the WBC was protected by the 1st Amendment in this case. The decision was yes, in this case the WBC was protected.

Nothing more, nothing less.
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Male 330
I despise WBC with everything in me, but I`m glad the Court ruled this way. They finally aren`t rewriting the constitution.

While I`d love to see the WBC shut out from protesting, it`s an incredibly slippery slope if you start heading that way. 9 people shouldn`t be able to decide what is "too" offensive for a nation.
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Male 2,389
As much as they`re hated, they`re smart. They all go to school for law. hmm, wonder why. but still this ruling opens so many doors for people to `hate` without persecution. I`m actually embarrassed to call myself an American after this. If the ruling was 5/4 it would be something but it was a landslide. ridiculous. When and where do we draw the line at decency? These people make me sick, but I guess now I can`t complain because it`s perfectly within their rights, and the people who defend those rights and freedoms are the wrongdoers?(no war debate please). If this isn`t just a huge oxymoron. asshats.
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Male 1,116
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Female 1,604
These people are the type that makes you want to take matters into your own hands.
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Female 166
I think this is great news. Everyone should just start ignoring it or defending it by saying their within their rights. Eventually when they`re not getting the attention their hick brains crave they will just move on to something else retarded but less abusive.

Or just go hang out in front of their place for awhile with signs depicting free clinics and calvin klein models, the things they hate.

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Male 559
I have no sympathy for any of you feculent maggots and no more patience to pretend otherwise. Gentlemen, I wash my hand of this weirdness.
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Male 1,547
@nettech98
[quote]What about this decision allows counter-protesters?[/quote]
The lack of saying there can`t be any counter-protesters. That`s how the law works.
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Male 3,482
They`re a money-making SCAM, nothing more. Just counter them with their own tactics so they can`t sue you and eventually they`ll f*ck off `cause they know they won`t make any money.

[quote]I disagree with what you say but I defend to the death your right to say it. - Voltaire[/quote]
Just throwing this out there, but Voltaire did NOT say that. It was actually said by one of his biographers, to describe his attitude.
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Male 1,073
It`s not just the First Amendment that was at issue here. It was also the fact that they were not in violation of any local laws. Since then Maryland has passed a law prohibiting funeral picketing, so if they tried the exact same thing today they would be in violation of the law.

Speech CAN be regulated. Read the whole decision.

@crakrjak: What about this decision allows counter-protesters?
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Male 2,229
Hate speech is NOT free speech
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Male 977
god stop posting/ talking about them. the more you do, even if you`re saying negative things, the more publicity they get, so just ignore them.
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Female 73
I disagree with what you say but I defend to the death your right to say it. - Voltaire
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Female 491
*facepalm*
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Male 96
a country of adult infants, a legion of mental midgets.
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Male 2,344
the WBC is not really a church people...they are a money making venture. they sue the poo outta ciies that try to ban them from protesting and often win thousands in legal fees.

if you write to the news agency that cover them and threaten to boycott them they will stop covering them. use your freedom of expression and speech to stop the WBC.
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Male 39,893

I hate that church.
But I believe in Freedom of Speech and that means
I have to believe in their right to it also.
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Male 7,378
More proof that Justice Alito isn`t fit for the job.
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Male 12,365
[quote]There`s a difference between public debate and throwing your own shi t in someone`s face. Free speach is insanely important, but it`s worthless if all your going to do with it is promote hate![/quote]

Free speech is not worthless. It`s a noble concept and it requires protecting the freedom of speech of people who use it to say things that disgust and infuriate you. If you don`t do that, you`re not really supporting free speech. Everyone supports freedom of speech they agree with or don`t care about. It`s what you do about the speech that you despise that`s your true stance on freedom of speech.

WBC are forbidden entry into the UK on the basis that they`re hate-mongering scumbags who aren`t worthy to be here. I think they are too, but I think they should be allowed here to spew up their foulness because I support freedom of speech and they don`t openly advocate violence. Although I`d rather they all died.
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Male 12,365
Nice to see that your supreme court is doing its job. If a country is serious about freedom of speech, it`s the vile droolings of bottom-feeding slimy parasites slithering in the droppings of their superiors that most needs protecting.
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Female 217
I used the Westboro baptist church for my high school debate as an example of why it would be unconstitutional to outlaw the KKK. As in "If these idiots can say anything they want, any idiots can say whatever they want."
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Male 1,610
Either you believe in free speech for everyone, regardless of what they have to say, or you don`t believe in it at all.

Now, someone go drop a f-ing warhead on their church.
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Female 856
Yes everyone should have a right to reply, then you know they are acting like complete muppets. However, NEVER at a funeral, very tastless and lacking any empathy.....actually that about sums them up to a tea!
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Male 3,894
This was the correct ruling to give... it just sucks that Westboro is filled with such shameless, terrible people.

(@prettymaryk- nice Elliott Smith avatar)

Dunno if counter-protests are a good idea. It`s like arguing with a troll-- that`s exactly what they want.
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Female 668
"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 said.
There`s a difference between public debate and throwing your own shi t in someone`s face. Free speach is insanely important, but it`s worthless if all your going to do with it is promote hate!
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Male 605
Free speech is free speech. It`s one of your rights. The fact that something like this is protected by the constitution is an amazing decision on the right of free speech.

DISCLAIMER: I do not support westbro Baptist church. They`re attention grabbing bastards.
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Male 17,511
Note: This ruling also allows counter-protesters to block their crap from the view of the mourners as well.
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Female 74
@green batman- While speech isn`t inherently harmful, imagine those mourning at a funeral and hearing them, it makes their day that much worse. I`m not arguing with you or anything, it`s just really sad that people have to deal with it.
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Female 74
I wish they could ban the protest of all funerals, but I understand why they ruled this way. Too bad...
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Male 3,431
The Supreme Court Sided with the First Amendment as they should. We can despise the Westboro Baptist Church all we want, their freedom to espouse their idiotic point of view is just as great as the Homosexual Community is to speak their mind.
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Male 2,422
There`s a flip side. Surround their Church day and night. Hound them everywhere they go with counter-protests. Drown their message in yours. The Supreme Court will back you to the hilt.
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Female 728
I think this is a good thing. Speech is not inherently harmful, even if it is idiotic and hateful beyond compare. Now they just need to repeal hate speech laws.
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Male 153
We just need to ignore them then they will go away. Or hope they turn into zombies and eat each-other.
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Male 1,815
In the long run, this is a good thing. Westboro Baptist is almost universally hated anyway, so if this is what it take to preserve the rights of Americans, I`m all for it.
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Male 1,547
Link: Supreme Court Sides With Westboro Baptist Church [Rate Link] - The cost of free speech. Westboro says to expect even more protests now.
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