Sarah Palin has clarified the meaning of her tweet earlier this week in response to the Supreme Court's 8-1 decision upholding the free speech rights of members of Westboro Baptist Church who protest at the funerals of members of the military.
In a statement to The Daily Caller, Gov. Palin said that she actually agrees with the high court's decision:
“Obviously my comment meant that when we’re told we can’t say ‘God bless you’ in graduation speeches or pray before a local football game but these wackos can invoke God’s name in their hate speech while picketing our military funerals, it shows ridiculous inconsistency,” Palin told TheDC. “I wasn’t calling for any limit on free speech, and it’s a shame some folks tried to twist my comment in that way. I was simply pointing out the irony of an often selective interpretation of free speech rights.”Encouraged by the decision in its favor, the group has vowed to "quadruple" the number of protests it stages at military funerals around the country.
For the record, we disagree with Gov. Palin and the court's majority on the free speech issue. The right of free speech is not absolute, as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in 1919. We agree with Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote in his dissent:
Petitioner Albert Snyder is not a public figure. 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. They first issued a press release and thus turned Matthew's funeral into a tumultuous media event. They then appeared at the church, approached as closely as they could without trespassing, and launched a malevolent verbal attack on Matthew and his family at a time of acute emotional vulnerability. As a result, Albert Snyder suffered severe and lasting emotional injury. The Court now holds that the First Amendment protected respondents' right to brutalize Mr. Snyder. I cannot agree.Does this in any way diminish our support for Sarah Palin? Of course not. This is not the only issue on which we don't see eye to with the governor. But across the board, we agree with her on the great majority of the issues. In our opinion, no other candidate or potential candidate for president comes close to matching her commitment to Reagan principles, her courage and her strength of character. And she fights for what is right harder than all of her potential rivals put together.
Respondents’ outrageous conduct caused petitioner great injury, and the Court now compounds that injury by depriving petitioner of a judgment that acknowledges the wrong he suffered.
In order to have a society in which public issues can be openly and vigorously debated, it is not necessary to allow the brutalization of innocent victims like petitioner. I therefore respectfully dissent.
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