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Comment count is 27
kennydra - 2010-04-01

it's cool, bill o'reilly is paying for it.

Binro the Heretic - 2010-04-01

Five stars for pure evil and a broken justice system.

And who knew O'Reilly had a heart?

Syd Midnight - 2010-04-02

A heart? What was he doing when Phelps only picketed gays? His feud with Phelps started when he was asked to name a right wing hate group after labeling The Daily Kos as a left wing hate group and comparing them to the KKK and Nazis. Yeah, the blog.

Ignoring people like Phelps and O'Reilly is the price we have to pay for the 1st Amendment.

IrishWhiskey - 2010-04-01

Despite the fact that pretty much everyone in the country hates Fred Phelps, and everyone would side with the grieving father of a Marine, a court still upheld the free speech rights of the Phelps clan, and wouldn't censor their speech or force them to pay to defend that right.

As long as that's true, Westboro doesn't have a hope in hell.

Binro the Heretic - 2010-04-01

The right to swing your fist ends at my nose. When free speech causes damage, it's no longer protected.

We come down hard on people whose speech does damage all the time. The appeals court screwed the pooch on this decision.

IrishWhiskey - 2010-04-01

No we don't. We don't legally punish people whose speech does damage. We punish them if they clearly knew and intended for their words to cause lawbreaking, and some other rare examples. Words cause physical damage all the time and are protected, let alone emotional damage.

The Phelps clan are well versed in the law and how far they can go, and they aren't swinging at anyone's nose. If we banned words that hurt, or that were unpopular, we'd end up looking more like the Phelps. There are many things wrong with our justice system, but our broad protection for free speech isn't one of them.

Binro the Heretic - 2010-04-01

People are legally punished for slander, libel, threats, harassment and intimidation all the time.

StanleyPain - 2010-04-01

This isn't free speech, its hate speech and this was the wrong decision.
Hate speech is generally defined as speech that is aimed towards a certain group of people with the purpose of not only inciting a dislike of those people but to intimidate those people and make them feel threatened.

Picketing a Marine's funeral and saying that the marine was killed because of FAGS and that FAGS need to go to hell and that GOD HATES FAGS is clear-cut hate speech, plain and simple, and is also slander against the dead marine and his family to refer to him as a sodomite and whatever else they come up with. Again: absolutely NOTHING the Westboro church does falls under simple "peaceable assembly", not by a longshot. It's clear hate speech and intimidation which people get sued for (and lose) all the time.

The problem is that it seems no courts in this country have the balls to actually call these people on their shit because they don't want to appear as if they are censoring religious beliefs because the church members are hiding behind their religion. The father was nowhere NEAR in the wrong for attempting to sue them, he was in the right and actually has a tremendous amount of courage to stand up to these worthless shits.

IrishWhiskey - 2010-04-02

I'm keeping it simple and ending here to avoid a forum debate rather than video comment, but slander and libel are damn hard to win (at least in this country), and threats and intimidation require some present threat, not just hate speech.

Hate speech is legal in this country unless connected to a threat of violence (rare exceptions). Siding with the Dad would have been a popular and consequence-free act for the Judge, its standing on principle even for unlikable scum that's hard.

Camonk - 2010-04-02

Yes, exactly, freedom of speech only matters if it's protected for the worst speech out there.

Syd Midnight - 2010-04-02

Exactly, Camonk. Just take a look at what Teabaggers consider "hate speech".. I wouldn't want a constitution that lets them ban PoeTV if they win a big election.

Frank Rizzo - 2010-04-01

it sucks, its gross and I wish the WBC would disappear but the dad was an idiot for suing and the right decision was made.

Free speech trumps butthurt, always.

oh, and submitter...
protester fees != court fees.

Binro the Heretic - 2010-04-01

So...are harassment and stalking "protected" speech?

kennydra - 2010-04-01

protesters' fees, as in...protesters' court fees. reading comprehension ftw.

Syd Midnight - 2010-04-02

Personally suing a religious clan of fanatically obsessed lawyers over their free speech issues may not be the wisest way to combat them, especially if they win lawsuits *for a living*.

My sympathies but this is the cost of freedom of speech.

nemeses9 - 2010-04-01

Pure fucking evil.

Scrotum H. Vainglorious - 2010-04-01

Those darn activist judges again.

Nithing - 2010-04-01

Five stars... for Bill O' Reilly? Oh that's not right.

Disaster - 2010-04-01

Fuck every, single one of those WBC pieces of shit.

sparklefatty - 2010-04-01

The gov't wants you confused and angry and unable to determine what justice really is. The gov't does not want anyone here, or anywhere else, to live in peace. The gov't (all governments) is the domestic enemy of the people. Eventually, when the people of the US are good and riled up enough, the gov't will present us with a foreign enemy, and many will be relieved to know that there is a target to unleash our anger onto. Many of us will have no idea we have been instigated for years.

sparklefatty - 2010-04-01

"Let's you and him fight." That's the purpose of governments.

Camonk - 2010-04-02

Blah blah blah high school understanding of politics garbled because of mouth full of balls

cognitivedissonance - 2010-04-02

I love this new Sparklefatty thing! 5 stars!

THA SUGAH RAIN - 2010-04-02

Thats adorable! Do you have a nutty blog too?

divinitycycle - 2010-04-02

Here, put on this Rage Against The Machine CD, too!

notascientist - 2010-04-02

I support this ruling. People have to accept the realities of freedom of speech, even if its gross. The court system determined that Phelps was within his rights, and given that decision, it is reasonable to make the other party pay for the legal fees. To do otherwise would have a chilling effect on other people who need to express unpopular opinions, because even if they can defend those speech acts, they may be forced to defend them with financial resources they don't have.

Are we really such huge fucking babies that we can't just ignore Phelps? Are we really such babies that we can allow the legal system to function in a way which is good for everyone, even if it is sub-optimal in this case?

glendower - 2010-04-02

This is a disturbing negative side effect of the First Amendment. Can you imagine, however, the ramifications of a successful court ruling against WBC? Based on that precedent, lawsuits would be filed left and right to clamp down on protests of all kinds. The presence if one "hateful" sign could be used to justify successful litigation against the entire group of picketers.

Litigation is not the way to address the WBC problem.

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