Author Topic: Congress lays a big roadblock to the WBC  (Read 4512 times)

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Offline ironbite

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Congress lays a big roadblock to the WBC
« on: August 02, 2012, 06:54:08 pm »
And you can already tell ol' Fred's gonna be bitching.

Westboro Baptist Church protesters will soon be severely limited in their ability to disrupt military funerals, after Congress passed a sweeping veterans bill this week that includes restrictions on such demonstrations.

According to "The Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012," which is now headed to President Barack Obama's desk, demonstrators will no longer be allowed to picket military funerals two hours before or after a service. The bill also requires protestors to be at least 300 feet away from grieving family members.

This aspect of the legislation was introduced by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who, at the urging of a teenage constituent, proposed new limitations on military funeral demonstrations as a response to a 2011 Supreme Court case that ruled such actions were protected under the First Amendment.

Amazing that this was introduced by one of the few sane Republicans AND it got through.  Simply amazing.

Ironbite-can't wait to see him spin this.

Offline N. De Plume

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Re: Congress lays a big roadblock to the WBC
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2012, 07:00:56 pm »
I think all funerals deserve to be picket-free, not just military ones. After the funeral is over and the mourners have had their time to grieve, the folks that took issue with the dearly departed can bitch and moan all they want. But during the funeral, the mourners need their peace.
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Offline armandtanzarian

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Re: Congress lays a big roadblock to the WBC
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2012, 07:02:26 pm »
But the Phelps family may just sue to overturn this law under the guise of free speech. Not sure if it'll actually pass muster in the courts, but I doubt they'll pass up the chance to sue the government on this issue.

Offline Lt. Fred

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Re: Congress lays a big roadblock to the WBC
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2012, 07:11:27 pm »
This aspect of the legislation was introduced by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine),

Fair is fair- good on her.
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Offline TigerHunter

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Re: Congress lays a big roadblock to the WBC
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2012, 07:15:11 pm »
new limitations on military funeral demonstrations as a response to a 2011 Supreme Court case that ruled such actions were protected under the First Amendment.
As much as I'm in favor of this bill, that makes no sense. If their actions are protected by the Constitution, passing new legislation doesn't do anything except waste the Supreme Court's time.

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Re: Congress lays a big roadblock to the WBC
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2012, 07:33:47 pm »
new limitations on military funeral demonstrations as a response to a 2011 Supreme Court case that ruled such actions were protected under the First Amendment.
As much as I'm in favor of this bill, that makes no sense. If their actions are protected by the Constitution, passing new legislation doesn't do anything except waste the Supreme Court's time.
Pretty much covers it,

They'd need a constitutional measure to change it, and frankly it is unconstitutional. As prickish as it is, it's their right. Much like it's your right to call them pricks for it. Unlike most hategroups the phelps have largely avoided inciting violence(towards their targets), so there aren't crimes(they committed) to hold against them and revoke their rights.

Offline N. De Plume

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Re: Congress lays a big roadblock to the WBC
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2012, 08:09:08 pm »
They'd need a constitutional measure to change it, and frankly it is unconstitutional. As prickish as it is, it's their right.

I don’t feel they have any right to do so any more than anyone has to blast loud music at 1am as a form of free speech. Mourners at a funeral deserve their peace just as much as sleep-deprived neighbors.

Let’s face it, even free speech has its reasonable restrictions.
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Offline Osama bin Bambi

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Re: Congress lays a big roadblock to the WBC
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2012, 08:42:14 pm »
I don't consider picketing a funeral to be free speech. I consider it harassment of the people attending the funeral who are not being dicks. The people who organized the funeral have rights to the land for the duration of the ceremony, and they should have the right to decide who can and cannot attend. You have the right to free speech, but you don't have the right to intrude on a private ceremony or place and demand that people put up with you. If I ran a restaurant and some LaRouches came in and started interrupting meals and the general peace to spread their horsecrap, then I should have the right to refuse service to them and to throw them out. They might say it's "free speech," but in reality my restaurant is not a public place, but private. Technically speaking, the right to free speech only says that you cannot be legally punished or restricted by the government. ("Congress shall make no law...")

Non-governmental censorship would fall under other categories that are already illegal, such as intimidation, harassment, blackmail, etc.
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Offline TigerHunter

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Re: Congress lays a big roadblock to the WBC
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2012, 09:14:53 pm »
I agree that this is one of the limits free speech should have. However, as long as SCOTUS believes otherwise, this bill is just a waste of everyone's time.

Offline Kit Walker

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Re: Congress lays a big roadblock to the WBC
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2012, 09:50:24 pm »
Blatantly unconstitutional. Yes, free speech has restrictions but the only thing this bill seeks to restrict is the time and place an unpopular viewpoint is allowed to be expressed. There is no valid public safety concern, there is no false advertising at play, accusing slander is questionable and we already have laws about that, and so long as they make appropriate arrangements with local authorities they're playing by the rules.

There is no right to not be offended. There are rights to free speech and peaceable assembly. The precedent this would set has the capacity to mondo bad.
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Offline N. De Plume

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Re: Congress lays a big roadblock to the WBC
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2012, 10:24:59 pm »
I agree that this is one of the limits free speech should have. However, as long as SCOTUS believes otherwise, this bill is just a waste of everyone's time.

That it is, unfortunately.

There is no right to not be offended.

There is a difference between being offended and being harassed during an emotionally vulnerable time.
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Offline Fpqxz

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Re: Congress lays a big roadblock to the WBC
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2012, 10:53:50 pm »
SCOTUS has generally upheld time-place-manner restrictions though (well, many of them anyway).  It's been a while since I looked at the case law on this, but there is a possibility that it could withstand a constitutional challenge.

It's one thing to consider the rights of the WBC, but why should their rights trump the rights of the mourners of fallen service members?
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Offline Nightangel8212

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Re: Congress lays a big roadblock to the WBC
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2012, 11:18:07 pm »
I think people should have the right to grieve without having protesters waving their signs around and telling little children that "Daddy's in Hell now." There's free speech, and then there's infringing on other people's rights to have a time to mourn and say goodbye to their loved ones.

Offline Kit Walker

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Re: Congress lays a big roadblock to the WBC
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2012, 08:47:41 am »
I think people should have the right to grieve without having protesters waving their signs around and telling little children that "Daddy's in Hell now." There's free speech, and then there's infringing on other people's rights to have a time to mourn and say goodbye to their loved ones.

Which amendment is that?
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Re: Congress lays a big roadblock to the WBC
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2012, 08:59:12 am »
It's one thing to consider the rights of the WBC, but why should their rights trump the rights of the mourners of fallen service members?
Because the right to free speech is the only right directly involved here. As much as I'd not particularly care to find out a gunman and rid the world of these people, there's no right involving funerary proceedings that I'm aware of. If it's harassment, charge them with it, if it's any crime, charge them with it, but legislating it to be a crime is in direct violation of freedom of speech.