Thursday, November 01, 2007

Good God

"Church ordered to pay $10.9 million for funeral protest"

This cannot stand. Sure they're jerks, sure you ought to be able to bury your dead in peace. But unless you're on private property from which you can be excluded, you ought to be able to say anything you damn well please, short of libel.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ask LA Guy if it would have been all right to Tase them?

7:12 AM, November 01, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh,hell yes. A reasonable court could fit that under the 2A no problem.

SWMBCg, etc.

10:05 AM, November 01, 2007  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I'll give the (rather obvious) answer to anon #1's question if anon #1 will let me know if it's a good idea to give a long interview in the mainstream press to these protestors to further explore their idea that the war in Iraq is a punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.

10:24 AM, November 01, 2007  
Anonymous denver guy said...

Without extensive study of the case, I don't see a Constitutional issue here. The protestors were held "liable liable for invasion of privacy and intent to inflict emotional distress." On appeal, the court will consider whether a jury could reasonably conclude that these torts ocurred, but otherwise, no one is allowed to intentionally hurt another person. Without more, the jury finding may be an argument for tort reform (akin to the outrage felt when McDonald's is held liable for someone pouring hot coffee on themselves). But it is not a first amendment issue, that I can see.

10:50 AM, November 01, 2007  
Blogger QueensGuy said...

DenverGuy is mistaken in that there certainly is a First Amendment issue here -- see Hustler v. Falwell. I'm going to have to go re-read that case and think about this. I know NY state courts have recognized the potential existence of an extreme emotional distress claim, but if I recall correctly, no court has ever upheld an award, because the conduct was never sufficiently outrageous. More later . . . .

11:49 AM, November 01, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plus, what the hey, what's next? You being a neocon offends me so greatly that it can be seen only as intentional infliction of emotional distress?

That's not a jury problem; that's a legal system problem. Mere tort reform isn't enough, unless tort reform is something other than what I'm accustomed to seeing, namely, brainless and arbitrary limitations on dollar awards.

(And to LAGuy: Of course the answer is obvious; I had just answered it.)

SWMBCg, etc.

4:31 PM, November 01, 2007  
Anonymous denver guy said...

The only reason the 1st Amendment is in play is that, of course, it is the government that would enforce the verdict, if it is upheld. The 1st Amendment is only a prohibition against gov't restriction of speech. In this case, there is no rule or statute that is being challenged.

Private individuals are permitted to limit each others speech all they want. I can turn off the radio or try and out shout someone (witness the taser dude at Kerry's presentation). Taser kid tried to talk over Kerry, which was not a violation of the 1st Amendment, and he was subsequently silenced, which also was not a violation of the 1st Amendment, because he was silenced for his conduct, which was deemed outrageous (or at least contrary to the public interest).

So, the question about these protesters will be whether their conduct was outrageous enough to warrant silencing (or in this case, punishment after the fact to discourage future such outrageous behavior). I don't know if it was, since I don't know the facts, but I'm comfortable with the appelate process to evaluate the jury's decision.

9:02 AM, November 02, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes presuming that you think the purpose of the press is print what people are interested in (i.e. they won't profit if no one reads) it is a very good idea to print a long interview with outrageous in the news types- viz. Paris, Britney, Anne Coulter, Ahmadinetc..., UNABOM er

A-1

2:28 PM, November 02, 2007  
Blogger LAGuy said...

People are interested in taser boy because he shouted a lot and got tasered on video, not because of his political views. Everyone in that forum has just as much right to have their views known, but because they were polite and didn't make a fuss, they don't get news coverage--that doesn't mean we should insult them by actually asking this fool to explain what he believes.

I don't get your list at all. We don't ask Britney or Paris what their political beliefs are. Anne Coulter is a pundit who regularly published her beliefs--that's how she makes a living. And you'd naturally want to know the politics of Iran's leader.

2:36 PM, November 02, 2007  

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