Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Updated: Actually, Gov. Palin says she agrees with SCOTUS decision

"Common sense and decency absent" in decision
Sarah Palin tweeted her disappointment with today's Supreme Court decision which upholds the First Amendment rights of anti-gay protesters at military funerals:
“Common sense & decency absent as wacko ‘church’ allowed hate msgs spewed@ soldiers' funerals but we can't invoke God's name in public square”
From Politico:
The court voted 8-1 in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church’s right to protest outside the funerals — though the court recognized the right of local authorities to put restrictions on how close to a proceeding the group can protest.

The opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts found that while the protests may “inflict great pain,” the group is constitutional protected to engage in the demonstrations.

Writing the lone dissenting opinion, Samuel Alito contended that “our profound national commitment to free and open debate is not a license for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case.
Related: Dissenting Justice: Westboro Ruling Goes Too Far

Update: In a statement to The Daily Caller, Palin said she agreed with the ruling in favor of the church.
“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. 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.”
- JP


  1. I am not certain that Palin disagreed, so much as pointed out the inconsistency of SCOTUS, in deciding prayer is not protected speech, but Westboro's spew is.

  2. Agree with the above comment. She might have added also, political opinions during election years. Either the first amendment was meant to protect ALL speech, or it has limits in the areas of obscenity and indecency, but certainly the most important speech protections include religious belief and political opinions. If the freedom of speech only protects a few types of speech, those are the ones it should protect.

    Somehow, however, we have a Supreme Court that believes every hateful and indecent kind of speech must be protected, but religious expression and political opinions ALONE may be restricted by the government. That's nuts.

  3. Freedom of speech is not an absolute right. Oliver Wendell Holmes in his writing of the 1919 majority opinion in Schenck v. United States:

    "The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic. [...] The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent."

    Falsely creating a panic in a crowded theater could lead to danger to life and limb if one or more of the patrons got trampled underneath the crowd rushing to get out of the theater.

    But are injuries of a purely physical nature the only dangers that should be considered? The courts have long held that severe mental and emotional stress are injurious also and have awarded damages for these injuries and for physical damage as well.

    This is part of what I think Justice Alito was discussing in his dissent. Of course I can't speak for Gov. Palin, but I would like to think that she would agree with Alito.

    - JP