Thursday, March 03, 2011

In Reply: Protecting Hateful Speech Protects All Speech, In The End

In reply to Stern Condemns Ruling on Funeral Protests - Huntington, NY Patch

I don't wish to be difficult, but I believe Mr Stern fails to understand the Supreme Court ruling. They did not strike down legal restrictions regarding time, place, and manner such as his law. If anything, it affirmed the constitutionality of such laws. Even absent such restrictions, protesters are not permitted onto the private property of a funeral home, place of worship, or cemetery.

This ruling simply held that as long as the speakers/picketers/protesters were abiding by all laws regarding time, place, and manner, they have every right to speak and to be afforded first amendment protections for their speech.

The first amendment is designed to protect speech that many/most people find repugnant; popular speech isn't often challenged, after all. But in the end, it protects ALL speech, because once you allow the government to restrict speech it finds repugnant, it becomes too easy for elected individuals to expand the definition of the word "repugnant" to include speech that they do not agree with politically, religiously, culturally, etc.

Posted 7:38am on Thursday, March 3, 2011

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