Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fred and John

Following up on my pledge to use this blog in part to continue tracking some of the issues first raised in the book from whence it derives its name, I have an update, via today's New York Times, of my discussion of Fred Phelps, Westboro Baptist Church, and the performance and politics of hate speech in Chapter 4.

It was in the Times that I read that the US Supreme Court, in an 8-1 decision authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, has sided with Phelps et al. on their right to protest at military funerals, blaming America's war dead on the country's too-liberal tolerance of homosexuality. Not surprisingly, coming from a Roberts-led bench that has steadfastly defended First Amendment rights in previous decisions, the reasoning here followed a familiar path: “Debate on public issues should be robust, uninhibited and wide-open,” according to Roberts, because “speech on public issues occupies the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values.”

Read more about the ruling here.


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