Free Speech, for the dumb.

I’m sure that case was cited in the argument of one, or maybe even both, parties. It’s all about interpretation. I’m looking forward to the full decision of the Court coming out, like I said, it will probably be a couple days.

Someone planning to kill a protestor is not an, “Incitement to violence,” the incitement to violence test is basically whether the protest itself explicitly and directly encourages other people to commit violence upon those being protested against. Obviously, violence by implication would not qualify as a direct encouragement.

I’m watching for it.

Yeah, I was reading about IIED, or the ‘tort of outrage’. Harassment, verbal assault, or hate speech were the other examples I had in mind. And with those would likely come the emotional distress bit. But, I suppose you are right in that the emotional distress would be the more trivial of accusations. I also thought of a case in which [hypothetically, of course] a member of a grieving family injured himself in a rage as a reaction to the protesters.

What? That is the case here. Overwhelmingly. Except, instead of negatively impacting a particular person, it is a number of people [and in a number of ways]. They actually intend to inflict emotional distress.

Agreed, but you missed my point here. The officer can turn a “Fuck you” into an arrest or some other penalty on a whim. It isn’t technically illegal, but is as good as illegal. My point being that the rules, and even constitutional rights, pertaining to language are not static so to speak. They are considered in context, so interpretations will inevitably vary. What I think it boils down to often times is to what extent the respective actions upset social order – that is when exceptions are created. Unfortunately, these assholes just piss people off enough to be hated, but not quite enough to cause any major ripples in social order …yet.

Agreed. They have the right to, but not the common sense not to.

This is a reduction of my argument to the status of definition. What is legal is legal, what is illegal is illegal. Clearly, that is not the extent of what I am saying (which you tacitly admit, by below touching on the discussion regarding the issue of causing or likely to cause harm of some sort). So your point that this re-stating of my point into a superficial form (of mere definition) is somehow an attack on my position here is invalid.

Yes, some, indeed many laws probably have little real or common sense basis to be laws. I understand that. However, as I made clear, I do not think this case in question is one such instance. There is a clear reason for laws protecting freedom of speech, even unpopular or ugly speech - again, within limits, of course. I do not think there should be limitless speech; my point is that the limits which do exist are (mostly) reasonable ones, and in the case of the church protests, were not crossed.

Well, harm would have to be proven beyond reasonable doubt in a criminal court. As for civil law, the standards are somewhat less, however harm still needs to be legally demonstrated here as well (in order for a court to uphold the suit against the church group on the grounds that their speech is unworthy of first amendment protection).

Um. This doesn’t bear on the issue at hand, but I will respond anyway.

Of course I empathize with these victims. And of course I find the speech in question ugly, offensive and hurtful. But: do you have a legal right to never hear speech that is hard for you to hear, that causes emotional upset? No. There is a difference between being exposed to speech that offends, that causes emotional discomfort, and being genuinely harmed in a real manner. Harm is the question here, the issue hinges on it. I am no law professional, but I do understand that if someone tells me, “I hate you, your ugly and stupid, I wish you and your kids were dead” I do not have grounds to sue them. Even if I was really emotionally hurt, cried, and felt upset because of the instance. Now, maybe I could find a sympathetic judge. But I doubt it, unless I can demonstrate, legally, that I was actually harmed as a person, specifically, by this speech, and I can demonstrate that harm in some tangible manner.

Protesting homosexuality near a military funeral is likely to stir emotions, likely to upset some people - but do you really want the standard of what is illegal to be whenever anyone is emotionally stirred or upset?

Now, another issue presents itself: the situation of being able to leave. Normally, if you are exposed to offensive or emotionally upsetting speech, you have the free choice to walk away. Even if it is hard to exercise this choice, you have it. Here, in the case of a funeral, you do not really have the ability to walk away, if you are attending that funeral, specifically if you are really involved (related to the deceased, etc). Physically nothing is holding you there, but realistically, you are not “free to leave” as a reasonable way to avoid exposure to the church protester’s speech. However, it is also a fact that the protesters were not found to have been interrupting of the funeral service, they did not shout down the proceeding, they were nearby but not overtly interrupting. So there are a lot of subtleties that come to surface here. On the one hand we have the issue that those exposed to this speech were physically able to leave if they wanted, but realistically they were “stuck there”. However, the speech was not overly invasive or disruptive. So, it is important to look at the nuances of these sorts of cases, which the Court did.

Ultimately it boils down to, for me at least, what sort of society do you want to live in? I dislike these idiot church bigots as much as you, but if we ban their speech, I think this has further negative implications for us all. I would rather live in a country that allows people to freely say stupid shit, within reason of course, than the opposite. I would assume you agree? So the question then is, how “within reason” was this particular case of protest? I think, in this sense, reasonable people can disagree. However, I do think the Court made the right decision here, based on what I know of the nature of the protests in question.

edited due to duplicate post

Basically as I said in the OP, there are other limitations on Free Speech. Banning these protests at funerals does not mean banning everything you don’t want to hear thats harmful, you’ve taken a broad category which I am not attacking and placing it as banning these protests means banning free speech entirely. That is not the case. So with that it comes down to how is it harmful again?

The killer words are going to be, “As a direct and proximate result of…” If someone injures him/herself that’s going to be a direct and proximate result of the physical act that caused the person to injure his/herself, not what ‘made’ them commit the physical act. Negligence is the only exception to that, but that wouldn’t apply to protestors.

Are you trying to make a case for a class action lawsuit? The point that I was making is that it has to be to the detriment (and not just emotionally) to a person. Besides, nobody is being slandered and defamed here. The people that would be most bothered by this are either homosexuals or family members of those at the funeral, and you don’t slander and defame a homosexual by calling him a homosexual (even if the term you use is more hateful).

I do not miss your point. Your point is that, de facto, you can be arrested for, “Fuck youing,” an officer. If you can prove that was all you did, then you probably aren’t going to jail and you might have basis for a wrongful arrest/harassment civil complaint. Again, we’re speaking in terms of real, actual laws here, not de facto results.

Three Times Great hit it out of left field here. Basically, you have to have a claim for compensatory damages before you have a punitive damages claim. The speech didn’t give anyone a claim for compensatory damages.

Nobody has ever disagreed with your assertion that there are other limitations on free speech. There is certainly legal precedent which shows that free speech should be limited in some cases, nobody has said otherwise.

As previously stated, Massachusettes has banned any kind of protest within 500 feet of any funeral. It sounds to me like you want all of the States to do that, perhaps you even want Congress to do that. I would like for that to happen too, and while I do not presume to speak for Three Times Great, I somehow doubt he would have a tremendous problem with it.

However, apparently, that law did not exist within the jurisdiction of the funeral(s) in question. If it had, then the argument would be whether or not the LAW prohibiting protests within 500 feet of funerals is Constitutional, and the Supreme Court (even by and through this ruling) has not said that such a law is Unconstitutional. The Supreme Court allows the speech, and they allow protests at funerals (absent a law/ordinance that says you cannot do that), but their decision (as far as I can tell) does not prohibit anyone from having such a law/ordinance.

That’s fairly semantic. If I commit an act judged illegal and the broken law is subsequently deemed invalid, I’m released because the act shouldn’t have been illegal. Still, if you can’t be legalistic in debates on jurisprudence, when can you? :stuck_out_tongue:

Constitutional jurisprudence is all about should/should not. That’s why you have originalists, purposivists, textualists, instrumentalists, and so on. If your view is “that’s what the SC decided hence that is the law”, there’s no point even discussing the matter.

Then there’s no discussion to be had; if the Supreme Court defines what is right, any opposition is by definition wrong. It seems an unhealthy societal attitude, though.

Well there ya go. Hows-a-bout a tort of negligence?



I’m just saying there seems, to me, a sufficient grounds for a number of possible cases against the group. The deceased, technically, are the ones being slandered. And, yes, I would think that the word “fag”, used in an aggressive manner, is as slanderous as any racial slur or general hate speech. My interest here is not getting the group in trouble, to be sure. They have enough negative publicity and probably adore it. I think the protests should be kept off of the streets for their own sake. Of course, I admittedly do believe they have a right to protest, even in their own way. However, the practice is overtly counter-productive, detrimental, and potentially dangerous to social order.

Well, all I’m really trying to say is that the laws pertaining to speech, particularly the constitutional right to “free speech”, already has exceptions. Even laws supported by our constitutional rights are [and will be] reexamined and reinterpreted on a case by case basis. Exceptions are made, new provisions are established, definitions are narrowed, etc. – all in context, though.



I suppose my more general point here is that our protected ‘rights’ ought not run contrary to common sense. But that is a whole other discussion in itself.

Um, yes… that’s what I said…

Is it harmful? This is the appropriate question in this case. And the answer, in the eyes of the law, is No.

The eyes of the law did not rule if it was harmful or not, be careful not to muddle it with what the ruling really was, the supreme court ruled that it was Constitutional.

I really don’t understand your stance, you already said it was harmful (hurtful).

My OP is not about what the law is, it is about what is right or wrong in this situation, and what the Supreme Court should have ruled.

And again, I also said that “hurtful” needs to be demonstrated legally in order to attain to any legal status.

Sure does but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t and I really don’t think the supreme court ruled that it wasn’t “hurtful”.

Just once I’d love for someone to talk about what they see on the news in the context of why they are seeing it, instead of putting on the pinny given to you by the media and running around in a scrimmage about the content.

Hating [this group] has been going on since fucking time immemorial. Do you not see how conditioned you are to only talk about it once you see a news story?

None of this shit matters. None of it. And this thread will go on for pages because of latent homosexual desires, or idiot religious people having to say something for the sake of it.

Why is the media portraying it or why does Wesbtboro do it? Feel free to talk about it if you’d like. How "conditioned’ am I considering I wouldn’t be aware of it without a news story likely, unless it occurred to someone I know and love or to myself. Whats your point?

Funerals are certainly neurotic and contribute to invironmental degradation.

You can, that’s just not what the Supreme Court does, at least, not all of the time. For example, someone could be convicted on the basis of some State law that doesn’t even qualify as a Federal offense, then the Supreme Court just needs to figure out whether or not the law is Constitutional, if that’s all that’s challenged. Let’s say, for some reason, that the Supreme Court didn’t actually think he did it (even though everyone else did), but was fine with the law itself, they wouldn’t overturn the conviction.

That’s not what I meant. I meant that basically the Supreme Court was essentially deciding whether or not to take the Constitutional Right to Freedom of Speech away in a limited context. There can be no doubt that they did have the right prior to the Supreme Court hearing the matter. Honestly, the Church probably had no reason to assume or believe that they could not do that, to me, it pretty clearly falls under Freedom of Speech in the absence of a pre-existing law that says you can’t. So, would such a law be upheld as Constitutional, or should it, that’s your should/should not now.

In the world of jurisprudence, the Supreme Court does define what is right. Anyway, I just think you need to get an actual prohibitive law in place, then there’s something that merits discussion, whether or not said law is Constitutional.



Nothing accidental about it. The Supreme Court cited, Hustler Magazine Inc. v. Falwell 485 U.S. 46, 50-51. which held, “The Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment can serve as a defense in state tort suits, including suits for intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

After that they found that the speech was one of public, rather than private, concern. In other words, because Snyder was not harmed (or even targeted by the speech) personally, and because it was not slanderous or defamatory, he can’t sue based off of that. The statements made in the speech and on the signs were all about homosexuals in general.

In short, you can upset people on purpose sometimes. Provocative speech often does.

How are the deceased being slandered? Even if an accusation of being hbomosexual, “Fag,” was slanderous (and that could only be construed as so if one were not homosexual) nobody seems to have called the deceased, “Fags,” at least that’s not how it seems to me. Using, “Fag,” aggressively has nothing to do with whether or not it is slanderous, for the purposes of slander it would mean the same thing as, “Homosexual.” Besides, it doesn’t seem they are calling any specific person a, “Fag,” anyway. Unless someone actually is, “Homosexual,” but that’s not slander because, “Fag,” is taken to mean homosexual, so even though it’s crude, it’s a true statement when spoken about a homosexual.