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Thread: Court to rule in military funeral protest case

  1. #41
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    Re: Court to rule in military funeral protest case

    Quote Originally Posted by EnigmaO01 View Post
    I can't believe this country as come to defending the right of scum like this vs. parents that made the ultimate sacrifice. I'm sorry but this is a no brainer to me.
    The ultimate test of any right is our collective fortitude to uphold it. Unfortunately there will always be scum like the Phelps clan that puts that very fortitude to the test, and will ultimately divide our opinion and will to protect said right.

    This being said, I'd like to add a couple of things.
    1) Thank god for those vets, Freedom Guard I think, who ride around the funerals to block the Phelps cult from further harming these families.
    2) There could be a way to prosecute the protesters under a few very circumstantial charges, such as disturbing the peace, fighting words, incitement to riot, or harassment, but an arresting authority and prosecution team has ONE hell of a case in front of them.
    Neither side in an argument can find the truth when both make an absolute claim on it.

    LMR

  2. #42
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    Re: Court to rule in military funeral protest case

    Quote Originally Posted by Orion View Post
    They weren't picketing in the cemetary, but across the street. Freedom of speech should be protected at all costs.

    There's nothing to prevent them from being sued though for emotional damages. Lawsuits people... that's how you shut down these creeps, and not by taking away civil rights from everyone. Everyone who has ever been wronged by these freaks should form a class action suit in the tens of millions and shut down the church.
    The Phelps people weren't arrested. They were sued for causing mental anguish to the father of a marine whose funeral they protested at, and they lost. Then it was appealed on the basis of their civil rights being violated, and they won that. The SC will decide if they should have to pay the $5M to the father or not.
    "A woman is like a teabag, you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water." - Eleanor Roosevelt

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  3. #43
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    Re: Court to rule in military funeral protest case

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    I don't like it... but doing it across the street from a soldier's FUNERAL is just an order of magnitude worse.

    I mean good Lord, the family is alreadly burying a son or daughter... the pain and grief of doing that is bad enough. But adding this crap to it?

    If someone gunned down the Phelps clan while they were engaged in this crap, and I was sitting on the jury, you'd never get me to vote to convict. That **** is just sorry beyond words.
    The ultimate irony?
    The US D.O.D sues them for slander.

  4. #44
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    Re: Court to rule in military funeral protest case

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    Ya know... I have to hope the Supremes rule that the Phelps can be sued out of existence for this crap.

    I'm sorry, that crap just isn't right. Period. It is just flat wrong to hold a sign saying "thank God for dead soldiers" at a soldier's funeral, where his parents and grandparents and siblings and friends can see it. It is just flat ****ing wrong.


    Forty years ago, somebody would have "handled" that situation and the cops would have looked the other way... end of problem.
    I don't. We're sue happy already and it's ****ing things up. I don't want people thinking that they're going to get sued every time they exercise their rights to association, protest, and speech unless they do so within some well defined construct of "moral". Free speech is protected, and needs to be protected. We'll have to take the good and take the bad with it. But because we find something repugnant doesn't mean we can just go and squash it.
    You know the time is right to take control, we gotta take offense against the status quo

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  5. #45
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    Re: Court to rule in military funeral protest case

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    Free speech is protected, and needs to be protected. We'll have to take the good and take the bad with it. But because we find something repugnant doesn't mean we can just go and squash it.
    Really? So vulgar language cannot be oppressed for example? Can you walk into a restaurant and bleep away at the crowded room? Is there any greater or more honorable peace to disturb than a grieving family burying a son or daughter who has died for their country?

    You cannot walk around DC with a sign that says I hate "fill in the blank." It's called responsibility and the law should shackle your arse and remove you from the scene. We don't allow atrocious racism with n word signs or signs I've seen in the South as a child depicting black men hanging from trees.

    We find it offensive for anyone to fly the rebel flag of the Confederacy, we protect our flags....we need to protect the honor of our fighting men and women and allow them to bury their children. If there ain't already a law, there should be one, free speech is one thing, yelling fire in a crowded church quite another.
    It was the Austrasians, that hewed on bravely through the thick of the fight, it was they who found and cut down the Saracen King.

  6. #46
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    Re: Court to rule in military funeral protest case

    The issues in this case are being really misconstrued. Points of clarification:

    1) This is a civil suit by a father against the Phelps clan. He sued, alleging that the Phelps speech caused him emotional distress, and won a $5m verdict in the trial court. The 4th Circuit reversed, saying that the district court erroneously allowed the jury to decide whether this was protected speech, while that should have been handled by the court.

    2) The mere fact that someone's actions hurt you does not mean that you can sue them. Although the Constitution operates as a restriction on government, you cannot be found liable in tort for something that is otherwise protected activity. Thus, even if I say something that would normally constitute a tort and that hurts you terribly, if it falls within the protections of the first amendment, I can't be found liable for that no matter how much injury it caused you.

    3) This case did not involve libel or slander, because Phelps and his crew did not make any demonstrably false claims specific to the guy in question.
    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

  7. #47
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    Re: Court to rule in military funeral protest case

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    The issues in this case are being really misconstrued. Points of clarification:

    1) This is a civil suit by a father against the Phelps clan. He sued, alleging that the Phelps speech caused him emotional distress, and won a $5m verdict in the trial court. The 4th Circuit reversed, saying that the district court erroneously allowed the jury to decide whether this was protected speech, while that should have been handled by the court.

    2) The mere fact that someone's actions hurt you does not mean that you can sue them. Although the Constitution operates as a restriction on government, you cannot be found liable in tort for something that is otherwise protected activity. Thus, even if I say something that would normally constitute a tort and that hurts you terribly, if it falls within the protections of the first amendment, I can't be found liable for that no matter how much injury it caused you.

    3) This case did not involve libel or slander, because Phelps and his crew did not make any demonstrably false claims specific to the guy in question.
    Actually it seems like this is what the SCOTUS will be deciding on. They have to decide if the fact that you are hurt by someone's words means that they are responsible for paying reparations for your mental/emotional pain, or that the 1st Amendment protects people from paying reparations for emotional pain, since it is so hard to actually prove. Courts have already limited the 1st Amendment to speech when such words cause or reasonably may cause physical or financial harm. This is why you can't yell "fire" in a crowded place and why magazines that sell based on lies can get sued by people that they lie about as long as it is proven to be a lie.

    This decision should set a precedent for whether or not the 1st Amendment actually protects against essentially hurting someone's mental health. It could go either way, but I think that if the SCOTUS does side with the father, then they will have to ensure that they stress that there must be actual proof that harm was or could reasonably be done to someone's mental/emotional health due to such speech.
    "A woman is like a teabag, you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water." - Eleanor Roosevelt

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  8. #48
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    Re: Court to rule in military funeral protest case

    Quote Originally Posted by roguenuke View Post
    Actually it seems like this is what the SCOTUS will be deciding on. They have to decide if the fact that you are hurt by someone's words means that they are responsible for paying reparations for your mental/emotional pain, or that the 1st Amendment protects people from paying reparations for emotional pain, since it is so hard to actually prove. Courts have already limited the 1st Amendment to speech when such words cause or reasonably may cause physical or financial harm. This is why you can't yell "fire" in a crowded place and why magazines that sell based on lies can get sued by people that they lie about as long as it is proven to be a lie.

    This decision should set a precedent for whether or not the 1st Amendment actually protects against essentially hurting someone's mental health. It could go either way, but I think that if the SCOTUS does side with the father, then they will have to ensure that they stress that there must be actual proof that harm was or could reasonably be done to someone's mental/emotional health due to such speech.
    The question of whether speech protected by the 1st amendment can create liability is long-settled, going back to NYT v. Sullivan. The classes of speech that are excepted (libel, etc.) go back even further. The court won't be deciding whether to create a new class of speech to except from the first amendment, but rather whether this particular speech in question falls within one of the already established classes. In reality, it might just be as simple as extending its holding in Hustler v. Falwell (finding the IIED tort unconstitutional as related to speech on matters of public concern about public figures) to this situation.
    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

  9. #49
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    Re: Court to rule in military funeral protest case

    You know, I just had a thought. If the lawsuit against Phelps is defeated in the Supreme Court, it could be the beginning of an excellent way to pay him and his klan back.

    Every time someone in Phelps' church dies, get about 10,000 people to picket the funeral with signs that say "God Hates False Prophets", "God Loves Dead Phelpses", and "This Dead Phelps Douchebag is Going Straight to Hell". Totally outnumber these assholes and shove their own tactics right down their throats. Make sure to televise it too, and let the whole world see what America thinks of these scum.
    Last edited by danarhea; 03-09-10 at 01:08 PM.
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  10. #50
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    Re: Court to rule in military funeral protest case

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    The question of whether speech protected by the 1st amendment can create liability is long-settled, going back to NYT v. Sullivan. The classes of speech that are excepted (libel, etc.) go back even further. The court won't be deciding whether to create a new class of speech to except from the first amendment, but rather whether this particular speech in question falls within one of the already established classes. In reality, it might just be as simple as extending its holding in Hustler v. Falwell (finding the IIED tort unconstitutional as related to speech on matters of public concern about public figures) to this situation.
    I don't think either of those cases really covers this situation. In both NYT v Sullivan and Hustler v. Falwell, the cases were based on the lies were protected because they didn't maliciously go out to harm the person they were about. Both had to do with something being written about someone that wasn't true, but was not done out of malice, just greed.

    There is establishment of IIED and NIED, it just never has fully addressed if the 1st Amendment right to free speech covers this because it is reluctant to open the door to frivolous lawsuits.

    Technically there is a good case for IIED or NIED here. It meets all the necessary elements.
    1. Defendant acted intentionally or recklessly; and
    2. Defendantís conduct was extreme and outrageous; and
    3. Defendantís act is the cause of the distress; and
    4. Plaintiff suffers severe emotional distress as a result of defendantís conduct.
    "A woman is like a teabag, you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water." - Eleanor Roosevelt

    Keep your religion out of other people's marriages.

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