Monday, May 31, 2010

Is free speech protected...

...even when it is offensive?

That's the question the Supreme Court is expected to answer, after multiple Church-sponsored protests at military funerals.

This ABC report offers substantive background to the story; and while I appreciate the amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs filed by almost every state attorney general, I wonder how much of their friendliness is a shameless pandering to voters.

Interestingly, the daughter of the pastor at the center of the controversy is quoted in the above article as supporting the protesters. However, her brother sees it differently.

Free speech is free speech, and it -- however onerous it might be -- has found legal support provided that it isn't akin to "yelling fire in a crowded theater." In this case, that standard likely cannot be met: No one was put in danger by the words spoken or presence of the protesters.

That being said, sometimes the beauty of free speech is choosing not to exercise it.

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