Category Archives: First Amendment

Westboro nutters funeral protest case update.

Since I personally believe that hate speech should not be protected speech, I pray to Buddha that this case, known as Snyder v Phelps, now up before SCOTUS, bankrupts those fucking nutters at Westboro Baptist and finally shuts those scum-sucking, attention-getting bastards up permanently. All the briefs have been filed. From the link above:

Snyder v. Phelps forces the Supreme Court to assess some of the most unpopular speech ever placed before it: virulent protests staged at military funerals.

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., have been picketing funerals of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, with the message that America is being punished for tolerating homosexuality. At issue is whether a verdict assessing damages against the church for causing emotional distress to a soldier’s family in Maryland violates the First Amendment.

The Court granted review on March 8, and the briefing for the case is complete, with organizations on both sides filing 15 friend-of-the-court briefs. The case is set for argument Oct. 6 with Margie Phelps, daughter of the church’s pastor, Fred Phelps, scheduled to argue her family’s cause. Representing the family of soldier Matthew Snyder will be Sean Summers of the York, Pa., law firm Barley Snyder.

SCOTUS Blog has the history and most of the info here on Snyder v Phelps.

Yes, he is an idiot but should he of been fired?

The asshole that burned a few pages of the Koran got shit-canned for his little act of stupidity, ignorance (add your own word here) and fuckery. The first amendment protects morons like him, Terry Jones and the idiots at Westboro Baptist…doesn’t it?

Of course Governor Christie had to weigh in (pun intended) on this issue and he agrees with the NJ Transit decision to fired this dumbass. From the rag known as the NY Daily News:

But one New Jersey state senator defended Fenton’s constitutional right to free speech and criticized his firing.

Fenton was not in uniform and apparently not on the clock when he staged his protest in front of news photographers and reporters covering demonstrations marking the anniversary of the World Trade Center attack.

“So long as his actions, however misguided, took place on his own time, and he was not acting in his capacity as a representative of NJTransit but as an American exercising his constitutional rights, then the agency is clearly in the wrong,” Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) said in a statement.

What say you, m’dear readers? It should be noted that speech wasn’t involved, burning was…so is that a technicality NJ Transit can use to dump this dipshit?

Tattoo parlors protected by First Amendment..Who knew?

Robb, my fav bartender in Malibu

I laughed my ass off at this story today. From the Jurist link:

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Thursday invalidated  [opinion, PDF] a municipal ban on tattoo parlors by Hermosa Beach, California, calling it a violation of the First Amendment. The controversy initially arose when Johnny Anderson was denied a permit to open a tattoo parlor by the city, located in southern California. The city does not list tattoo parlors in its zoning code, and, as tattoo parlors must be registered under California law, the city’s code in effect outlawed those establishments. The US District Court for the Central District of California  granted summary judgment to the city when Anderson filed his original suit. In arriving at its decision, the Ninth Circuit first held that tattooing is an expressive activity, not merely conduct with an expressive component. Based on that holding, the court further held that tattooing was subject to only reasonable time, place or manner restrictions, and the city’s ban was not narrowly tailored to the city’s interest in protecting public health and did not leave open alternative channels of communication. The court concluded:

    [T]he City’s total ban on tattoo parlors in Hermosa Beach is not a reasonable “time, place, or manner” restriction because it is substantially broader than necessary to achieve the City’s significant health and safety interests and because it entirely forecloses a unique and important method of expression. Moreover, no genuine issue of material fact exists with respect to the constitutionality of the regulation. Thus, we hold that Hermosa Beach Municipal Code § 17.06.070 is facially unconstitutional to the extent that it excludes tattoo parlors.

The city is currently deliberating as to whether it will appeal the decision to an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit, or perhaps even to the Supreme Court.

First Amendment rights have been the focus of numerous court challenges in recent history, often by unpopular groups seeking to have their rights enforced. Also Thursday, the US District Court for the Central District of California, which granted summary judgment against Anderson, ruled that the US military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy violates the First Amendment . In August, the US District Court for the Western District of Missouri found that Missouri laws banning protests at funerals are unconstitutional. That case involved the controversial Westboro Baptist Church, and another case involving the same organization will be heard by the Supreme Court this term.

Ah yes, the fuckwits at Westboro Baptist and their first amendment rights. It’s damn pathetic that those assholes can preach their hate speech and are covered by our Constitution/Bill of Rights.

As for Hermosa Beach and their city council…hahahahahahahaha…assholes.

From our Dept of WTF?

SCOTUS has ruled that corporations now have civil rights. I shit you not. SCOTUS just opened up a huge can of vile, carpetbagging, worms.

You can read the ruling here (pdf). This decision is total crap. Corporations are not human, they are always money-making operations.

I am pretty sure the First Amendment was not created to protect The Corporatocracy.From Public Citizen:

Today, in the widely-publicized Supreme Court case Citizens United v. FEC, the Justices ruled in a 5-4 decision that corporations have a First Amendment right to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence election outcomes.

        Shed a tear for our democracy.

Today, in the case Citizens United v. FEC, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that corporations have a First Amendment right to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence election outcomes.

Money from Exxon, Goldman Sachs, Pfizer and the rest of the Fortune 500 is already corroding the policy making process in Washington, state capitals and city halls. Today, the Supreme Court tells these corporate giants that they have a constitutional right to trample our democracy.

In eviscerating longstanding rules prohibiting corporations from using their own monies to influence elections, the court invites giant corporations to open up their treasuries to buy election outcomes. Corporations are sure to accept the invitation.

The predictable result will be corporate money flooding the election process; huge targeted campaigns by corporations and their front groups attacking principled candidates who challenge parochial corporate interests; and a chilling effect on candidates and election officials, who will be deterred from advocating and implementing policies that advance the public interest but injure deep-pocket corporations.

Because today’s decision is made on First Amendment constitutional grounds, the impact will be felt not only at the federal level, but in the states and localities, including in state judicial elections.

So, wtf were those five assholes thinking?

ACLU files lawsuit against new FISA law.

They didn’t waste anytime did they? Bless those wonderful people at the ACLU. Friday, they filed suit (pdf file) in federal court in the southern district of New York, their press release can be read here. From Jurist:

The ACLU claims that the law violates the Fourth Amendment by allowing unjustified and unregulated surveillance, and violates the First Amendment by limiting the freedom of speech and the press. The complaint also alleges that the Act violates the “case or controversy” requirement and separation of powers. The ACLU asks the court to declare the law unconstitutional and to permanently enjoin such surveillance. The ACLU also filed a separate motion requesting that it be given leave to participate in all cases concerning the Act. The separate motion also requests that publications of all related motions and decisions be made available to the public. The New York Sun has more.

I am so proud of the ACLU and their tireless and sometimes thankless work on behalf of Americans, our freedoms and our Constitution. It is heartwarming and it gives one hope that all is not lost.

Of course, being the curmudgeon I am..I bet the court will toss the case..but allow me a small amount of smugness at this point in time ok? 😉 May this lawsuit give Bush and Mukasey major heartburn and hopefully it will embarrass all those phony fucking Democrats that voted for the bill in Congress.