A Judge’s Dissent

Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to JewishWorldReview.com, HumanEvents.com and CanadaFreePress.com. He may be reached at atahlert@comcast.net.


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Mr. Alito is also somewhat persuasive with respect to privacy. There are few things more devastating than out-living one’s child, and a funeral at which a father is burying a son killed in the line of duty should be the last place where anything remotely resembling inappropriate behavior takes place.  More to the point for Justice Alito, such somber occasions should be private affairs.

“Petitioner Albert Snyder is not a public figure,” Alito argued. “He is simply a parent whose son, Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, was killed in Iraq. Mr. Snyder wanted what is surely the right of any parent who experiences such an incalculable loss: to bury his son in peace. But respondents, members of the Westboro Baptist Church, deprived him of that elementary right.”

As most Americans know, the right to privacy was enshrined in the landmark Roe v. Wade decision of 1973, affirming a woman’s right to an abortion. Furthermore, fourteen states extend that right to minors, absent parental permission or notification.  In that sense, the right to privacy trumps the rights of an “outside agent,” aka parents, to either regulate or be aware of their child’s behavior, even where a medical procedure is concerned.  Since the court has yet to declare such laws unconstitutional, it can be reasoned that the right to privacy can infringe on those of outside agents (parents) with respect to abortion, even as the court contends it cannot on outside agents (protesters) with respect to funerals.  Yet perhaps there is a strange consistency here after all:  in both cases, the rights of parents are trumped by larger considerations.

With respect to protesters per se, however, the Supreme Court has demonstrated consistency.  The Westboro protesters prevailed in court due in large part to the fact that they were more than one thousand feet away from the church where the funeral took place, which more than satisfies the 100-foot restriction imposed by the state of Maryland.  In a 6-3 ruling handed down in 2000, the Supreme Court upheld a Colorado law aimed at abortion protesters which specified that no one may, without permission, get within 8 feet of another person within a 100-foot radius of a health-care facility.  Thus, the acceptable boundary restrictions of protests were established long before Snyder v. Phelps, making this decision all but a foregone conclusion.

So why would Samuel Alito dissent? The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto offers a hint.  Referring to Justice Alito as “the court’s outlier on cases involving outré speech,” Taranto noted that he was also the lone dissenter in the U.S. v. Stevens, another First Amendment case in which the Court “struck down a law banning videos depicting animal cruelty.”  Both cases involved rulings in which the American public simultaneously accepts the value of the First Amendment even as they are thoroughly reviled by the particular beneficiaries of it. (It is worth noting that the original jury verdict in Snyder found Fred Phelps liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress, and awarded $10.9 million to Albert Snyder.)  In Stevens, animals were filmed getting crushed to death in viscerally disgusting detail. In Snyder v. Phelps, a group of repugnant protesters attempted to disrupt a man’s final moments with his dead son.

Perhaps Mr. Alito has taken it upon himself, with or without the consent or knowledge of his fellow jurists, to be a kind of “pressure release valve” for public discontent.  Perhaps, knowing that he could not prevail constitutionally, he decided to give some credence to the emotional upheaval that such difficult decisions engender.  This is strictly a theory, and it is predicated on the idea that Mr. Alito was well aware that his fellow jurists would protect the First Amendment without his help.  And even though Supreme Court justices are, or should be, aware that emotionalism has no place in the arena of jurisprudence, perhaps granting a legally inconsequential nod to the idea that “justice must be tempered with mercy” was what occurred here.

Arnold Ahlert is a contributing columnist to the politically conservative website JewishWorldReview.

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  • joel

    Justice Alito is right. He is the only justice here to not bow to the shrine of rationalism/objectivism . It is ironic that in a civilization that has abandoned God,and thus the ability to discern right from wrong,good from evil,the so-called justice department sticks to the "letter" of the law so often.

  • Amused

    You can't have it both ways ……free speech can be hate speech . We ban hate speech then it becomes a matter of defining hate speech , then of course … a matter of WHO is defining it .Alito's got it wrong ……noble …but wrong .

    • CanadConserv

      They can have free speech without having the right to exercise it in close proximity to those entitled to privacy. Let them say what they will – perhaps a mile away from funerals.

      • kwg1

        Then it is limited speech! Life is full of events which cause discomfort, pain, etc the mental things. We have no individual liberty right to be free from these events effects upon us. Unless of course it interferes with our life, liberty or property. I did not say pursuit of happiness because "Pursuit" is know to mean property and the methods to acquire it. I may be upset that you want to tell me how wrong I am but I have no constituional right because of the existence of the First Ammendment to have the government arrest you for doing so! No matter how much pain I feel. The government is free to require safety standards of where the protestors may protest such as not blocking streets, sidewalks etc. but they cannot stop the speech all together either directly or indirectly by saying you can protest but not within a half mile of the activity site.

        • CanadConserv

          That's a good argument. But bear in mind that we have many legally accepted limitations on free speech. And as various rights conflict with one another, the courts ultimately arbitrate between them. So we're not really debating absolutes – all speech and all expression are always permissbale – so much as lines in the sand .

          • kwg1

            The key words you use are, legally accepted. The real question becomes by who? The people are the depository of all liberty! The government power flows from them outward. The Constitution protects freedom of speech, but always with the kind of caveats like "not screaming fire in a crowded theatre" and such along the lines which may injure or kill people and thus deprive them of their liberty. I say that to maintain our "true" liberties we must not give them up to government unless they violate more than just our sensibilities. Otherwise generations from now or sooner, we may wonder where the liberty we once had has gone.

          • CanadConserv

            I agree with you on that in general. But the liberty line is not always as clear cut as you don't have a right to yell fire in a theatre. We also have laws against slander and liable. You can't plot a crime and then claim free speech, if the crome was not yet carried out. You can't drive through a stop sign, claiming personal liberty allows you to do that. You can't refuse to file a tax return. We all manner of restrictions on liberty. For sure these should kept to a minimum, and for sure the state and those who like to control others will inevitably push those boundaries, relentlessly. Still, to repeat an earlier point, there are not absolutes. Thus we debate the boundaries.

          • kwg1

            Individual liberty which under either "natural law" or if you prefer, God empowered, is violated anytime "your" actions impinch on anothers! I stated your "fire" point, but that impinges on others rights to be safe in their person. You can plot a crime up until the point you begin to implement it. Otherwise writers would have nothing to write about, would they? They could be accused of "plotting a crime. Driving through a stop sign does not vilate free speech or political speech. It again violates a safety/liberty issue. The constitution gives the government the right to levy taxes and promulgate rules for the implementation of those taxes. This is not an example of free speech although I would love to see the 16th Ammendment repealed. Read this for a better understanding if you haven't done so yet: "The Law" by Frederic Bastiat: http://mises.org/books/thelaw.pdf

          • CanadConserv

            I only meant the conflict between various liberties. Nonetheless, your distinction between limitiations on speech vs other limitations on freedom is a good one.But with respect to free speech only, as I mentioned before, slander is a crime. You can't, in fact, plot a crime, because that is illegal. You can't verbally threaten someone, even if you don't follow through, because that is a crime. Plotting a crime is plotting to do harm, not actually having done it. But to present harm from happening we rightfully make illegal plotting to do harm.Likewise, it can easily be argued that it should be illegal to speak in favour of genocide; to, say, speak and encourage membership in groups or organizations that advocate the murder of all American Jews. Because that makes it likely that harm will come, increasingly perhaps, to some Jews.The group deliberately antagonizing the bereaved at funerals does not, it seemed to have been accepted by the justices, have a right to do so within a certain space. So they were not debating whether the group had an absolute right to protest, demonstrate and simply be abhorrent. It was understood that they do not. Instead, the debate and the judgment was about where the line should be drawn, in this case, I believe it was that state law stipulating 1,000 feet was reasonable.

          • kwg1

            We are talking politically protected speach which was the thrust of the lawsuit. Your plotting crimes does not fit as O.J. Simpson's attorney would say. There are aspects to the laws about "Plotting" a crime which must be fulfilled in order to be convicted of that crime. This is not political speech. Speaking about something does not make it more likely to come about…sorry but I vehemently disagree. You can verbally threaten someone if that threat consists of words which are describing your intent to bring to the attention of someone over them in authority that you are displeased. You cannot verbally threaten them with bodily harm or destruction of personal property, because to do so violates their rights to be secure in person. But you can "threaten" to go to the ballot box and vote to take their right to vote away! read Bastait.

    • Catmann

      I agree. The moment free speech be defined by others will be the moment it is lost. Right now the first amendment is under assault by the religion of permanent offense (Islam). I would hate to have the Supreme Court circumscribe criticism of it just because some moon god worshiper was offended.

    • sodizzy

      I disagree. I think he has it right. Free speech has its boundaries…no threatening in certain instances, used to be advocating the violent overthrow of our govt, and certainly in a decent society inflicting emotional distress in a private setting.

  • http://theoldgeek.com Bob Madden

    While numerous court rulings may have inferred that a right to privacy was actually intended by the framers it does not trump a right that is actually in the constitution. As abhorrent as these vermin are we are a nation of laws. We must all curb our urge to take these scumbags out, and hang them from the nearest tree. Mob rule should have no place here.

    • WildJew

      What about the "clear and present danger" qualifier / ruling by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, if the First Amendment is absolute?

      • http://theoldgeek.com Bob Madden

        It certainly does not seem to apply in this case. I did not offer a position on whether, or not the first amendment is absolute. I have my doubts about the whole "fire in a crowded theater" argument anyway.

  • WildJew

    I understand the complexities here. I cherish my freedom of (in particular) political speech as much as the next guy and I am very liberal when it comes to speech. Notwithstanding that the U.S. Constitution is a fine document in many ways, President John Adams was quick to point out, the Constitution was not given to us by the gods from heaven. It is a human document. Thomas Jefferson is not a prophet and the Constitution is not prophecy unlike, for example, the law of Moses. Many Conservatives would like to strip Islam of its protection as a religion, in that the First Amendment absolutely prohibits limiting the free exercise of religion. Problem is, Islam is a religion (albeit a violent and dangerous one) by the very definition of of the term religion. Islam embraces a superhuman or a supernatural deity. First Amendment absolutists, I am afraid might foster America's defeat and her undoing at the hands of supremacist Islam. This most recent ruling in favor of Westboro Baptist Church fanatics is a case in point.

    • http://www.resonoelusono.com/NaturalBornCitizen.htm Alexander Gofen

      "…the First Amendment absolutely prohibits limiting the free exercise of religion" understood as brands of Christianity and Judaism only!

      The Framers did not need to specify it explicitly because then here were no other faiths. Moreover, then and later no country in the world was based on mixtures of Christianity and anything else. Moreover, until now it is still generally understood that America is a Judeo-Christian nation and nothing but that – notwithstanding what the impostor and fraud Obama/Soetoro declares for a foreign audience.

      It is dangerous and ludicrous to legitimize proselytizing of Islam by the 1st Amendment. Islam does not belong to America, period.

      • http://www.chick.com Raymond

        Islam is of satan.

  • Supreme_Galooty

    Freedom of speech is ardently defended only when that speech annoys conservatives.

    • sflbib

      All right !!!

    • sodizzy

      That is not true. David Horowitz himself and many others champion the free speech rights of all, including their opponents. We cherish the principle.

      • Supreme_Galooty

        Don't be silly. The comment was made in jest, but you have to admit there is some validity to it. While there might be vigorous defenders of free speech out there, those on the left only exercise their vigor when it is a leftist speaking. Conservative speech gets short shrift from leftist "defenders."

  • Questions

    Never underestimate the power of religious fanaticism in all this. The Phelps family aren't just supremely obnoxious and possessed of a criminal lack of empathy for others' suffering. That's obvious. More importantly, they behave the way they do because they believe God tells them to. They are motivated, first and foremost, by a conviction they are doing the work of the Lord. Unwittingly, this freaky quiverfull clan makes a superb case for separation of church and state.

  • Tone

    @Questions….Don't be an idiot. Do not put these degenerates in the smae class as the rest if the Christian world because "YOU CHOOSE" not to believe. These people are incompetent…and the only members they have are their own family, no other outside parrishners. They are using the "Church" moniker to hide within the LAW.

    Oh, show me in the Constitution, where it says "Separation of Church and State."

    • Questions

      Oh, please. Show me in the Constitution where it mentions the words "God," "Jesus," "Christ," "Christian," "Judeo-Christian," "Bible," and "Biblical." Leave aside the fact that there are very good reasons for those omissions and were anything but accidental. The fact is two can play that literal-minded "Gotcha!" game. That a given phrase isn't formally in the Constitution doesn't mean the Framers didn't place a value on it — think of "property rights" and "freedom of association," neither of which are in the document.

      In any event, the fact remains: The creepy Phelps family is motivated by unusually extremist Protestant brand of fire and brimstone, unleavened by any doubt, skepticism or even elementary compassion for the deceased. Whether they are "using" religion is a rhetorical aside.

      As for my own beliefs, you know nothing of them. Calling someone an "idiot," by the way, isn't going to win over too many souls either.

  • USMCSniper

    Let me see: "The Modern Penal Code section 250.4(MPC) defines harassment as a misdemeanor if with purpose is to harass another person or group, he or they: 1) makes a phone call without a legitimate purpose; or 2) insults, taunts or challenges another in any manner likely to provoke a violent or disorderly response; or 3) calls at inconvenient hours or in offensive language; or 4) subjects another to offensive touching; or 5) deliberately engages in any other course of alarming conduct with malice to cause emotional distress to a targeted individual or group."

    Seems that Judge Alito is the only one who knows the f*&King law.

    • ajnn

      Now this is a solid legal analysis. wd.

      [a violation of the criminal code is 'per se' a violation of the victim's rights under federal and most state law.]

      • MikeeUSA

        Constitution is the highest law of the land fscknut pc of sht

  • geoplaten

    The Phelps family is motivated by something, but it sure isn't the Lord.

    There is no absolute right to free speech. Everything is about where you draw the line. Can you blast your stereo at 4 am? Can you threaten someone? Can you threaten the President? Can you shout fire at a theater?

    The obvious answer is no to all of these. In their zeal to exhibit their own superiority, the Supreme Court missed this simple thing.

    These people – the Phelps clan – are sick. They need help. Giving them freedom to indulge their sickness does not help at all.

  • http://newmediaage.shugartmedia.com/NewMediaWorld/ Tar_n_Feathers

    This morning I heard Dennis Miller suggest that we just air drop Charlie Sheen into a Westboro rally. I'd pay money to see that. If your going to stage an idiotic circus, may as well go all the way.

  • Old11B

    "and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one."

  • Amused

    Aside from supremo-galooty 's small-minded remark , free speech is a double-edged sword . Inciting to riot is against the law , and that old anecdotal "screaming FIRE in a movie house ", is against the law since it would cause injury and posiibly death ,if it's false . So , as detestable as this "cult " is , you can not abridge their free speech rights without eventually abridging all . There are counter-measures , all legal , that can be taken or legislated to negate such obnoxious behavior . Alito's position is one of emotion , not of constitutionality .As to the other situations mentioned , "threatening ANYONE constitutes Assault and Battery , the penalty is severe if it involves a President . Blasting a stereo at 4 in the morning violates common ordinances which in most place is considered a disaturbance after say 11 pm . What about a hanging in effigy ? Is that a threat ? or freedom of expression ? You climb a slippery slope by siding with Alito .
    After all , we can turn out like SupremeGalooty , and determine WHICH free speech is allowable according to political "ideology " .

  • http://Vajonline.org Domenick De Rose Sr.

    Justice Alito being the great Supreme Court Justice that he is, has echoed what our forefathers intended the first amendment to mean. It is the interpretation of intended meaning that defines the law and it's proper application in society..

    Justice Alito, is a GREAT SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

    • Zivkov3000

      Its great how you can channel the opinions of the founding fathers on issues that would not exist until centuries after deaths. Its also quite funny how, even though the founding fathers disagreed on practically everything, they all somehow line up behind you, to a man, to echo all of your opinions on modern social issues.

      • http://Vajonline.org Domenick De Rose Sr.

        Precisely, Zivkov opinions, disagrements and contentions are presented, argued and ultimately agreed upon in order to to enact a final written law, It is because of opinions and disagrements that make good laws, good goernment and is the core base of all democracy.

  • Amused

    Yea …thats what YOU say . I suggest you read some real American History and learn of what constiututed free speech ….slurs , slanders , outrageous statements ….much of what you see today , was said back then . If you thinks some of the things said today in politics are vicious , they pale in comparison .Instead of assuming what our forefahers "intended " why dont you investigate what they actually said .Alito IS a great Supreme Court Justice , but in this case he is clearly WRONG .

    • http://Vajonline.org Domenick De Rose Sr.

      Thank you for your suggestion. However, what I have read, learned and since forgotten about the greatest document ever written by man, you sir, have yet to achieve..

      • Amused

        I kinda doubt that Domenick ole' boy , since you haven't even a grasp of The First Amendment . Maybe that's the part you have "long forgotten . " Perhaps a re-read is in order .
        Oh, and BTW DOM, reading comprehension is a skill , not an "achievement " .

        • http://Vajonline.org Domenick De Rose Sr.

          Why do you suppose our forefathers saw fit to insert, "and to petition the Government for a redress"

  • Malcolm

    Let's not forget a few facts. (1) The protest was 1000 yards from the funeral. (2) The plaintiff did not actually read the protest signs as he passed. He decided to sue only after he saw the signs on TV. (Which leads to the obvious question: why does the TV network keep treating these creeps as significant news?) (3) He was awared $10.6 million – later reduced to $5 – for "emotional distress" – essentially, having his feelings hurt. This would be outrageous, even without any First Amendment issue. It is questionable whether hurt feelings should ever been actionable, but certainly the action should never be treated as more than a misdemeanour.

  • http://www.chick.com Raymond

    Information about Gonorrhea Lectim.

    The Center for Disease Control has issued a warning about
    a new virulent strain of this old disease. The disease is called
    Gonorrhea Lectim. It's pronounced "Gonna re-elect em,"
    and it is a terrible obamanation.

    This disease is contracted through dangerous and high
    risk behavior involving putting your cranium up your
    rectum. Many victims contracted it in 2008….but now
    most people, after having been infected for the past
    1-2 years, are starting to realize how destructive this
    sickness is.

    It's sad because Gonorrhea Lectim is easily cured with
    a new drug just coming out on the market called Vote-em-out.
    You take the first dose in 2010 and the second dose in
    2012 and simple don't engage in such behavior again;
    otherwise, it could become permanent and eventually
    wipe out all life as we know it.

    Several states are already on top of this, like Virginia
    and New Jersey, and now Texas,
    with many more seeing the writing on the wall.

  • http://www.chick.com Raymond

    One sunny day in January, 2013 an old man approached the White House from across Pennsylvania Avenue , where he'd been sitting on a park bench. He spoke to the U.S. Marine standing guard and said, "I would like to go in and meet with President Obama."

    The Marine looked at the man and said, "Sir, Mr. Obama is no longer president and no longer resides here."

    The old man said, "Okay", and walked away.

    The following day, the same man approached the White House and said to the same Marine, "I would like to go in and meet with President Obama."

    The Marine again told the man, "Sir, as I said yesterday, Mr. Obama is no longer president and no longer resides here."

    The man thanked him and, again, just walked away.

    The third day, the same man approached the White House and spoke to the very same U.S. Marine, saying "I would like to go in and meet with President Obama."

    The Marine, understandably agitated at this point, looked at the man and said, "Sir, this is the third day in a row you have been here asking to speak to Mr. Obama. I've told you already that Mr. Obama is no longer the president and no longer resides here, he went Fort Leavenworth Prison. Don't you understand?"

    The old man looked at the Marine and said, "Oh, I understand. I just love hearing it."

    The Marine snapped to attention, saluted, and said, "See you tomorrow, Sir!

  • http://www.chick.com Raymond

    As you know, the Homosexual Lobby is moving fast and furious to carry out its anti-family agenda.

    California is now pushing SB 48, innocently called the “Fair, Accountable, Inclusive and Respectful Education Act” or FAIR Act.

    But there is nothing fair, accountable, inclusive or respectful about it!

    If passed, SB 48 would force school boards, teachers, and textbooks to teach all public school children in grades K-12, to regard Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Americans as positive role models.

    Sponsored by a homosexual activist, California State Senator Mark Leno, SB 48 comes on the heels of six other school homosexual indoctrination laws already on the books.

    And teachers would not be allowed to simply remain silent on LGBT role models, nor would parents have the right to exempt their children from the objectionable curriculum.

    Sadly, the radical Homosexual Agenda includes enticing boys and girls — even as young as Kindergarten to embrace the homosexual, bisexual, and transsexual lifestyles as normal and healthy.

    You see, the Homosexual Lobby wants to use the schools to further dull the moral compass of younger generations who will dutifully dismantle our religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, free enterprise, property rights, the Boy Scouts, and everything else you and I hold dear.

    All in the name of fairness, of course.

    Well, I know that you’ve had enough of immorality disguised as fairness.

    These homosexual indoctrination laws are nothing less than an in-your-face violation of our children’s innocence.

    They are an attack on our children’s natural God-given sense of what is good and wholesome.

    Sadly, public schools are no longer a safe place for boys and girls.

    • sflbib

      Don't limit your comment to public schools.

      Children haven't been safe in schools for at least 40 years. Ironically, that's about the time that gays told us all they wanted was to be left alone.

  • sflbib

    Seems like no one is addressing a main question: What does a soldier KIA have to do with the WBC's position on gays? They claim that dead soldiers are God's punishment for society's tolerance of homosexuality. OK, fine if that's what they believe, but the dead soldier is not the one responsible for society's tolerance of homosexuality that allegedly raised God's ire, so why target the wrong people? Go protest the government, the courts, and [most of all] the universities. They, not the dead, are the ones who can do something.

  • theSTARforum

    I agree with Justice Alito. If free speech is infringing on someone else's right to have a peaceful wedding, funeral, etc., then they are violating someone else's right. Free speech is not intended to allow you to say "with a bull horn" anything you want wherever you want. It is intended to allow you to say peacefully, what you believe without fear from the government. This does not mean you can simply destroy someone else's religious service because you think you have something to say. They have rights, too.

  • Shawn

    I like Alito. But I believe he is wrong. From a legal standpoint, it is protected speech regardless of whether they were looking for media attention or not. However, this article makes an interesting point about hate crime laws. Theoretically speaking this hate crime law is unconstitutional. In reality however, it will never be challenged because no one has the political will to fight back against it. In a perfect world it never would have been passed, and if it was passed in a perfect world it would be easy overturned because it is punishing someone for their thoughts, for what they believe evidenced by what they said during the crime. Despicable as it may be, it is protected speech and thought, and as such should not be punished. Since when is assault or murder not based on hate? Isn’t that always the case?

  • aspacia

    I grieve with the family of every fallen soldier. However, I have seen many Muslim protesters make similar, nasty claims regarding us and have generally not suffered any backlash unless calling for violence.

    Remember, I hold all fanatics in disdain!

  • ColoradoMarine

    It's now officially OK to shout vicious and foul obscenities in inappropriate places- first amendment rights and all that- the Supreme Court said so! How do we stop the madness?

  • enoughalready

    Does this mean we can stand in front of the White House and use racial epitaphs to slur BHO and his children? Can we call him a Kenyan Usurper, a Muslim, an anti-Semite, the "N" word–can we say awful things about his dead mother, his wife, his children because it is protected? How many minutes will it take them to arrest us? To accuse him of having gay sex with a Limo driver? Any takers?

  • Amused

    Define " protected speech " .And don't forget , there ARE obscenity laws and public nuisance laws , and laws regarding " disturbing the peace " . I wouldn't say that it's "officially ok " but it IS guaranteed by the First Amendment . Keep in mind these rights may not apply to private property .

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Matthew 12 v36 must not be very important to the Westboro Church,
    they seem not to be concerned with God's Word if it interferes with
    their crazy, noxious mission. Justice Alito has a proper aversion
    to reprehensible behaviour and does not condone it under color
    of law. I smell a rat in all of this and if the money behind this questionable
    Church could be discerned it would answer many questions. I know
    one thing "seek ye not justice in the courts"……………………………..William

  • damon beckett

    I always thought that "free speech" meant political opinion and not the Phelps stuff. I suppose that if that lovely young family sitting next to you in a restaurant begins with the obscenities towards your family they have that right to be obnoxious and profane.

  • Amused

    enough already posted :

    Does this mean we can stand in front of the White House and use racial epitaphs to slur BHO and his children? Can we call him a Kenyan Usurper, a Muslim, an anti-Semite, the "N" word–can we say awful things about his dead mother, his wife, his children because it is protected? How many minutes will it take them to arrest us? To accuse him of having gay sex with a Limo driver? Any takers?

    It's done on a daily basis , especially on this website , lol…. " situational free speech " …..I said it before , THOU HYPOCRITES .

  • Amused

    Hey Roy , don't blame the Supreme Court .When that pastor threatened to burn the Q'uran ….WHAT HAPPENED ? Where was the support of all like minded folks ? The act of doing so was protected under the First Amendment -Freedom of Expression . There should have been thousands rallying to support that pastor , with a thousand Q'urans to burn !
    Wilson exercised his First Amendment Rights , and called the Pres. a LIAR , in chamber with the Pres. present , an unprecedented act of disrespect . Outside his supporters cheered , Wilson got the proverbial smack on the hand . So what happened ? The book was never burned , the exuses flew …endangering the troops , muslims will riot , loss of life will occur around the globe , yet bibles are banned , confiscated and thrown into fires and dumpsters as a matter of practice , non-muslim religions are not only denigrated , but their members persecuted and killed , their houses of worship burned , without anyone burning a Q'uran .

  • Amused

    ……..and the demogogues on either side shout " Dont tread on me " ….and ,"We will fight for your rights " ….. AT EACH OTHER ! Our troops are killed anyway , riots are happening anyway , Alien and Sedition Laws are ignored , WITHOUT PROTEST . Daily ! Where are the Patriots ? __ And that pastor , relented , and is now contrite ! Our students are intimidated , yet no mass protests , no corporate actions of witholding funds or grants , no protest from successfull and influential alumni . So , what happened? FEAR ! Instead we call each other …enemy !

  • Just Musing

    Justice Alito's decision is correct. It is correct because it is morally reasoned and just. It is correct because there is contradiction present in the decision of the majority; the majority decision omits truth in the administering of justice. Truth is unassailable. Justice Alito recognizes that there is something deeper in this case beyond the declaration of rote law, for there is a more just distribution of love in his conviction. Perhaps, one day, mutual good will and charity toward our brothers and sisters may gain ascendancy as the law is applied to the conflicts of society.

  • Amused

    Yea , and when THAT day comes , then and only then , there will be no need for a Supreme Court . The fact that people DO NOT do the right thing gives causer for laws and rulings such as this one . You say truth as if a wedding vow , however the Supreme Court rules on the interpretation of the Constitution , NOT anyone's perception of truth or personal sentiments on morality . If we allow Neo-Nazis to stage parades as well as Klansmen , whose ideology is well known and quite despicable and abhorent , we can hardly make a case against these loons ,based on morality .Are they breaking the Law ? Is their speech protected under the First Amendment ? Period .

  • Slickster

    Read the westboro website. They scream about legal action againist anyone who makes any comment about their hate program. Fred phelps is a dis-barred lawyer, wife beater and child molester. I can't wait for the gay to protest his funeral. big fun.

  • vlparker

    I stand with Justice Alito and am disappointed that Justices Thomas, Roberts and Scalia are not with him. The Westboro lunatics have the right to say whatever they want. No one is denying their right to free speech. However, they do not have the right to disturb the peace and interrupt people who are burying their dead.

    If I am at a presidential speech and start heckling the president I will get thrown out. If I am in the US Capitol and start shouting from the gallery I will get thrown out. If I am at a Broadway play or at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and get up in the middle of the performance and start criticizing the performance I will be thrown out. This is an absurd ruling by SCOTUS and I don't believe for a minute that this is what the founders envisioned when they enacted the Bill of Rights.

  • Roy

    A Judge’s Dissent
    Mar 03, 2011 11:45 pm | Arnold Ahlert

    For the second time, Justice Samuel Alito is the lone dissenter in a First Amendment case — is he right?

    'Political Correctness' ?
    We have Doomed Ourselves, and Our 'Stupidity of Silence' in the Face or Abhorrent behavior shall beget the Global Caliphate, last Muslim worthy of attending that divine end! Global Caliphate, which shall witness, but there shall be none to witness, the presence of 'last Muslim' worthy of attending that divine end!
    'Who will be 'pure enough' to witness the presence of the 'Twelfth Imam'?
    non-Males will have been 'killed-off' well ahead of the 12th's arrival as (un-pure)! which removes birth and the future . . .
    even now Shia slaughter Sunni . . .
    Sunny slaughter Shia . . .
    in their quest of seeking Purity and Worthyness . . .
    Mohammad Exalts !
    Allah Weeps!
    and all the while we mortals delude ourselves into trying to convince ourselves into thinking and believing that "We Can Own God!"

    Political Correctness . . . We each hold the Scimitar to our own throat!
    Political Correctness cannot wash away our ignorance . . .
    Our Silence screams our Fate:
    " We have allowed this to happen . . . (to ourselves) !
    " We have caused this to happen . . . (to ourselves) !
    and the supreme court has ceased anything comprehensible as any form or structure of 'supremacy' !
    but it Is and does remain totally dedicated to it's (dead-end) credo of being 'Supremely' P.C. !
    Political Correctness dictates there be No Peace for those families of 'Heroes'
    Deceased'!
    The supreme court has spoken . . .
    Citizens remain silent, as travesty heaps on travesty . . .
    is the 'Tobacco' attorney to be the new 'standard' of ethics? . . . Of morality?

    Roy J Stewart,
    Phoenix AZ

  • tagalog

    The old civil remedy of forming a mob, going down to the courthouse, removing the offending judge(s) from the bench, taking them out to the public square, tarring and feathering them, and riding them out of town on a rail continues to await its revival.