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Subject: Bill O'Reilly sayeth, "The Bad Guys Win" rss

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fightcitymayor
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For all of you anonymous sociopaths on the internet, with your hateful invective.

http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/oreilly/transcript/bad-guys-wi...

Fuck it! We'll do it live! wrote:
On Wednesday the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in favor of the vicious Westboro Baptist Church protesters who roam the country screaming hatred at military funerals and other places.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WESTBORO CHURCH MEMBER: God hates fags, God hates fag enablers. Therefore God hates America and all of the U.S. military. America is doomed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

These loons say they are protesting because the United States does not persecute gay people. They believe God is punishing America, and these vile idiots are happy that our soldiers are coming home dead.

Enter Albert Snyder, whose son Matthew, a lance corporal in the Marines, was killed in Iraq. Mr. Snyder sued the Westboro Church for intentional infliction of emotional distress, and initially won $11 million from a jury. But judges overturned the verdict, even making Mr. Snyder pay court costs. And on Wednesday, the Snyder family received the ultimate insult: The vicious Westboro crew won in the Supreme Court. Kind of shocking.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said: "As a nation we have chosen … to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate."

Noble in theory, but what about the rights of Mr. Snyder and his family to bury their son in peace?

The lone dissenter was Justice Samuel Alito, who said: "Our profound national commitment to free and open debate is not a license for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case."

"Talking Points" believes Justice Alito is correct, and the Supreme Court needs to think about what is happening in the real world. Because of the Internet, anonymous sociopaths can now smear and bully anyone they want. And the media has picked up on this. We all know people who make millions of dollars simply by defaming other people.

Recently, the actress Katie Holmes filed a $50 million lawsuit against a tabloid paper that told its readers Ms. Holmes is drug involved. Ms. Holmes may very well lose her suit because it's almost impossible for famous people to prevail in these cases.

But Mr. Snyder and his family are not famous. They're everyday Americans who simply wanted to bury their son in peace, but these animals, the Westboro people, wouldn't allow that.

The First Amendment is in place to protect the rights of Americans, but free speech can be abused. Slander is real. Bullying is real. Inflicting pain on others through words is real. But the Supreme Court does not seem to get that.

With the rise of the Internet, cowardly sociopaths are running wild with hateful invective, outrageous smears and bullying tactics that have caused some kids to commit suicide.

The Supreme Court needs to wise up. It's not just about free speech anymore. It's about personal destruction.

And that's "The Memo."
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Bojan Ramadanovic
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Glad to see your Supreme Court doing the right thing.
I could not disagree more with the Westboro folks - but freedom of speech is way too important to let them damage it.

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Scott Russell
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If the presidents and G12 (or whatever) conferences can relocate protesters a certain distance away, grieving families should have the same right.
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Steve Bernhardt
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A slandering, bullying, liar hates competition.
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Andrew Goenner
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bramadan wrote:
Glad to see your Supreme Court doing the right thing.
I could not disagree more with the Westboro folks - but freedom of speech is way too important to let them damage it.



I dunno, I'm also big on free speech, but free speech doesn't mean say whatever you want to whomever you want and never have to suffer any consequences for your actions.

Free speech only gets you so far.
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Bojan Ramadanovic
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MasterGeek wrote:
bramadan wrote:
Glad to see your Supreme Court doing the right thing.
I could not disagree more with the Westboro folks - but freedom of speech is way too important to let them damage it.



I dunno, I'm also big on free speech, but free speech doesn't mean say whatever you want to whomever you want and never have to suffer any consequences for your actions.

Free speech only gets you so far.


The consequences they suffer (rightly) are that they are comprehensively despised by practically everyone who has heard of them.
What other consequences could they suffer that would be compatible with free speech ?

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Bojan Ramadanovic
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qzhdad wrote:
If the presidents and G12 (or whatever) conferences can relocate protesters a certain distance away, grieving families should have the same right.


As long as "certain distance" is used to protect the security of the participants I agree. If "certain distance" is used to make sure that the protesters are not seen/heard then I heartily disagree with it (even more in case of summit protests then in this case).

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Andrew Goenner
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bramadan wrote:
MasterGeek wrote:
bramadan wrote:
Glad to see your Supreme Court doing the right thing.
I could not disagree more with the Westboro folks - but freedom of speech is way too important to let them damage it.



I dunno, I'm also big on free speech, but free speech doesn't mean say whatever you want to whomever you want and never have to suffer any consequences for your actions.

Free speech only gets you so far.


The consequences they suffer (rightly) are that they are comprehensively despised by practically everyone who has heard of them.
What other consequences could they suffer that would be compatible with free speech ?



Well I would assume that slander and libel exist legally for a reason. If anyone has a valid reason for the (far overused, IMHO) emotional distress card, I would say it would be the Snyder family.
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I'm sure they can have their right to free speech without being granted access to a private funeral. Free speech doesn't get you past a nightclub bouncer, for example.
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Morgan Dontanville
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They suck. But, I feel that they have a right to assemble. That said, I can't imagine how what they actually say doesn't fall under the fighting words doctrine. I'd be curious to see if in any of the SCOTUS notes there is mention of Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire.
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Scott A. Reed
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I've not read the opinion, but what gets me hung up here is that this was a case base on the tort intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED), and not one of a stifling of free speech. For one, I don't quite see how the issue of free speech came into the case here since this is not an instance of a government actor stifling the speech of someone, so the general entry into a constitutional argument is out.

For the record, here are the elements of IIED (taken from Wikipedia, but facially they seem correct):

1. Defendant acted intentionally or recklessly; and
2. Defendant’s conduct was extreme and outrageous; and
3. Defendant’s act is the cause of the distress; and
4. Plaintiff suffers severe emotional distress as a result of defendant’s conduct.

My issue here is that if the plaintiff in the original case could prove up all four of these elements and get a jury to agree to it, then you have IIED, and the "freeness" of one's speech is not at issue. Typically, IIED is very hard to prove, because it goes beyond just "he said something and it made me feel bad", so for someone to prevail on this means that the jury* must have believed that these elements were satisfied, including the "severe emotional distress" of element #4. On top of that, the appellate court (whose opinion I have also not read) would have been scrutinizing the case for reversible error on the grounds that an element was not satisfied, or that the court applied the law incorrectly.

But, that all being said, I again have not read the opinions, and it is likely that Justice Roberts did address the elements of the original claim and the popular media has taken a snippet of the case and is running with it decrying it as a "1st Amendment Free Speech" issue when in fact it is not.

Anyone with a law background who has read the opinion care to weigh in on this, or point out what I am missing here?

----
*Edited to add: I will also freely admit that I don't know what actually happened in the court of original jurisdiction either. I presume there is a jury, but it is quite possible there was not one as jury trial is only constitutionally guaranteed for criminal matters, and IIED is civil.
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Clay
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bramadan wrote:
Glad to see your Supreme Court doing the right thing.
I could not disagree more with the Westboro folks - but freedom of speech is way too important to let them damage it.



Yes.

That said, this isn't really a general issue of free speech, is it? This is about a group of people harassing a funeral. I think it would be fine to throw a "don't stand within X distance of a funeral while antagonizing the grieving family" law on the books, that would leave free speech intact in that you can still antagonize the family but you just have to stand a bit father away while you do it.

We don't really have absolute free speech. I probably can't walk up to Obama and say "I'm going to kill you," even if I say it in a clearly joking tone. This particular issue seems like something we could give in on without damaging the spirit of the right.

And all of that said, an 11 million dollar settlement? Holy fuck. The payoffs in our legal system are beyond absurd. Even if he has to spend the rest of his life in therapy, there is absolutely no way they did that much damage.
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Morgan Dontanville
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The Message wrote:

And all of that said, an 11 million dollar settlement? Holy fuck. The payoffs in our legal system are beyond absurd. Even if he has to spend the rest of his life in therapy, there is absolutely no way they did that much damage.


It was a very expensive funeral. The canapes alone were $16,000.
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I can say what I want on your wedding night.
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I am OK with letting Westboro picket funerals, because free speech works both ways.

Thank God for people like Patriot Guard Riders who have been known to shield grieving families from Westboro sickos.

And if Westboro or anyone similar ever tried to protest in my area, I'd be out there in a flash to support the families as well. Citizens need to take action (peacefully, of course) instead of sitting back and waiting for the government to silence their enemies for them. Do you think Westboro would continue protesting at funerals very long if, every time they showed up, good hearted people showed up by the hundreds to support the families? Even if Westboro did show up, the noise-to-content ratio would be so high it wouldn't matter what they tried to say.
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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qzhdad wrote:
If the presidents and G12 (or whatever) conferences can relocate protesters a certain distance away, grieving families should have the same right.

I'd rather see it the other way 'round.
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CW Lumm
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cool username wrote:
Do you think Westboro would continue protesting at funerals very long if, every time they showed up, good hearted people showed up by the hundreds to support the families? Even if Westboro did show up, the noise-to-content ratio would be so high it wouldn't matter what they tried to say.


Not sure this is true.

Westboro did a bunch of protests in 2002 in New York, proclaiming how "God hates fags" and 9/11 was punishment for New York's blah blah blah blah. There were at least 30-40 times as many people counterprotesting as there were Westboro morons. And yet there they go, year after year.

I'm pretty sure their senses of self rest on being part of a minuscule (and loopy) minority.
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Les Marshall
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Trying to sum up on a troublesome discussion.

This is a great deal like the case over the American Nazi party marching in Skokie, Illinois. When I took ethics in law school, we discussed this at length. The nazi's clearly picked Skokie due to it's largely Jewish population. The message was disgusting and the choice of venue repugnant. However, we have a very strong prohibition against preventing speech based on it's content.

In the case of the Westboro Baptist church you have not only free speach issues but, religion issues. Whether you think they are looney or not, they use the standard bible as authority for their views.

The reason that the debate isn't solely limited to a consideration of the elements of a Intentional Inlfliction of Emotional Distress (IIED) claim is that the harmful act was limited solely to speech and that prosecution of an IIED claim would require GOVERNMENT action to punish the church members for their speach.

With regards those who challenge the protest due to the "privacy" of the funeral, you should recall that the protesters remained outside the 1,000 foot limit set by to local government. Governments are allowed to place "reasonable" time and place restrictions on speech. Evidently the limits on this protest weren't sufficient.

The challenge here is for lawmakers to find a way to observe the free speech rights of the protesters while providing for the families of slain veterans to see off their loved ones in peace.

Just recall that any law you pass restricting the Westboro church can easily be turned to prevent speech which has content that you support.
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Andrew Goenner
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Rulesjd wrote:
Trying to sum up on a troublesome discussion.

This is a great deal like the case over the American Nazi party marching in Skokie, Illinois.


Illinois Nazis...I HATE Illinois Nazis.
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Erik Henry
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It's probably naive of me, and I don't follow it close enough to know whether there are a lot of other examples of this, but:

On a controversial case, I'll take an 8-1 decision that I don't agree with over another 5-4 partisan decision that I do agree with any day. It gives me confidence that they considered the case on its own merits and probably came to the right conclusion, and tells me I'm probably thinking more with my heart than my brain.

It probably speaks more to the obviousness of the proper decision, but it's nice to see anyway.
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Andrew Sweeney
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Rulesjd wrote:
Just recall that any law you pass restricting the Westboro church can easily be turned to prevent speech which has content that you support.

How would a law which explicitly banned hate speech (and which would therefore cover the whole "God hates fags" angle) prevent me from speaking when I don't call my opponents hateful names and don't tell them God hates them?
 
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Les Marshall
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TheHat wrote:
Rulesjd wrote:
Just recall that any law you pass restricting the Westboro church can easily be turned to prevent speech which has content that you support.

How would a law which explicitly banned hate speech (and which would therefore cover the whole "God hates fags" angle) prevent me from speaking when I don't call my opponents hateful names and don't tell them God hates them?


What is the definition of hate speech and who gets to decide?

Is calling someone a name, hate speech? If that were a chargeable offense you'd be locking up huge swathes of the population.

Is someones interpretation of the bible/torah/koran about God's judgment, hate speech? Are you really going to start locking up those who interpret religious scripture in ways you feel are "hateful"?

Maybe God does condemn homosexuals as some contend. I don't believe in a supreme being or in any particular religious text. But, if there really is a God, do you claim to know his/her will?

The US has as a cornerstone the freedom to practice religion without governmental intrusion. We have it because so many colonists fled a repressive monarchy which sought to control religion as a state organ.

I'd rather challenge the darkness of hatred with a flashlight rather than a nightstick.
 
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Andrew Sweeney
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To speak degradingly of a group on the basis of sexual orientation is a commonly regarded form of hate speech.

You don't believe in God, so I'm not going to discuss God's will.

Can I just say, it really annoys me when you answer my question with a question.
 
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Rulesjd wrote:
The US has as a cornerstone the freedom to practice religion without governmental intrusion. We have it because so many colonists fled a repressive monarchy which sought to control religion as a state organ.


What?! The colonists would've been pretty surprised to find this out.

I don't think I've ever read of a single colonist (prior to the 20th century) who left their home country because their state was getting in their God.
 
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kamchatka wrote:
Rulesjd wrote:
The US has as a cornerstone the freedom to practice religion without governmental intrusion. We have it because so many colonists fled a repressive monarchy which sought to control religion as a state organ.

What?! The colonists would've been pretty surprised to find this out.

I don't think I've ever read of a single colonist (prior to the 20th century) who left their home country because their state was getting in their God.

Here's a story for you, then: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilgrim_%28Plymouth_Colony%29
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