SCOTUS Westboro Ruling Both a Tragedy and Correct + More

Posted on Mon 03/07/2011 by


The Patriot Post Brief

The Foundation

“We must take human nature as we find it, perfection falls not to the share of mortals.” –George Washington

Opinion in Brief

Westboro ringleader Fred Phelps

“Fred Phelps, the deranged pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church — which is more like a family entourage of psychos — has devised a scheme for getting attention: He desecrates military funerals. … Albert Snyder, the father of a fallen Marine, sued Phelps for protesting his son’s funeral. He won millions. The Supreme Court overturned that verdict Wednesday. I think the decision is a travesty. But, alas, after reading it, I also find it perfectly defensible, probably even correct. Anyone familiar with the concept of ‘garbage in, garbage out’ can appreciate that this isn’t necessarily a contradiction. … As Chief Justice John Roberts put it, ‘The reach of our opinion here is limited by the particular facts before us. … (We rely) on limited principles that sweep no more broadly than the appropriate context of the instant case.’ But you wouldn’t get the sense that this was a narrow, even shallow, victory for free-speech absolutists based on much of the commentary about it. Nearly all of it boils down to a single insight: Just because speech is offensive doesn’t mean we can ban it. … [I]n its decision the court upheld severe regulations on funeral protestors. Indeed, Snyder himself couldn’t make out Westboro’s signs or hear their chants at the funeral, because Maryland officials required the protests to be at least 1,000 feet away (though I’d be fine with making it 10,000 feet). It was only days later that Snyder saw on TV what the protesters were saying, or read on the Internet their vile personal attacks on his family. Why don’t these restrictions offend free-speech absolutists? Perhaps because, even though we like to mouth platitudes, we actually recognize that some speech is so vile, so beyond the pale, that we as a society understand that it might impinge on other things we hold dear — like the reasonable expectation that a parent might have to bury his child respectfully and in peace.” –columnist Jonah Goldberg

Reader Comments

“Concerning the public declaration that the law enforcement arm of the federal government will not defend DOMA, Attorney General Eric Holder is quite simply not doing his job. I fully recognize that President Obama will fail to terminate his employment. However, as he has taken a public stand indicating that he will not, by his choice, fulfill the responsibilities of the office he entered, might it not be time for the House Judiciary Committee to take up the cause of impeachment for Mr. Holder?” –Rod

“Can we expect to see the Westboro Baptists protesting AG Holder at the Justice Dept. and President Obama at the White House now, in addition to their appearances at military funerals? The premise of their protest and their recently won Supreme Court case is that God is punishing America for tolerance of homosexuals. Why are they silent on the actions of these two government officials?” –Major Stu

“The Westboro ‘Baptist’ church should be referred to as the Westboro Church of Phelps since the majority of its members are the Phelps family. I do not think you will find any Baptist Church from any Baptist group of believers; Southern, Northern, American, Free Will or any of the many others, preaching hatred of gays and the military that seems to be the centerpiece for Phelps and his family. They will have much to answer for when they meet their maker.” –James

Re: The Left

“As Obama rakes in historic campaign contributions from Wall Street money, liberals claim Republicans are beholden to ‘the rich.’ However that may be, it is far more true, and far less remarked upon, that the Democratic Party is the party of public sector unions. And now, the nation watches helplessly as public sector unions and their Democratic allies say to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: Nice state you got there, governor. Be a shame if something bad happened to it. … Democrats use taxpayer money to fund a government jobs program, impoverishing the middle class and harming the people allegedly helped by the programs — but creating a vast class of voters who owe their jobs to the Democrats. This is a system designed to ratchet up costs. Look at the history of every entity where public employees have unionized, and you will find that not only are government workers paid more, but there are also a lot more of them doing a lot less useful work. … For Democrats, the purpose of public education in this country is not to teach children; it’s to create jobs for ‘educators.'” –columnist Ann Coulter

How To Stop A Bill Cartoon


“At the same time that Wisconsin’s Democratic senators are holed up in Illinois, the federal government is trying to determine if there is a way to live within our means. The Republican Party is pushing a balanced-budget agenda, and the Democratic Party is pushing an invest-now-so-we-can-save-later agenda. Here, too, we can see the conflict between our values and public action. … Government programs that promise to save people through government assistance and programs do so in exchange for their liberty. People who were once self-reliant and personally responsible become conditioned to accept that they have been victimized, that they have no power, that there is no real hope for a better future, but only the false hope that the payments that government provides will continue. … Let’s be clear about what this is — this is bondage for future generations. … Let us love freedom more than security and risk the challenges of liberty rather than give in to the assurances of bondage.” –columnist Jackie Gingrich Cushman

The Gipper

“These United States are confronted with an economic affliction of great proportions. We suffer from the longest and one of the worst sustained inflations in our national history. … For decades, we have piled deficit upon deficit, mortgaging our future and our children’s future for the temporary convenience of the present. To continue this long trend is to guarantee tremendous social, cultural, political, and economic upheavals. You and I, as individuals, can, by borrowing, live beyond our means, but for only a limited period of time. Why, then, should we think that collectively, as a nation, we are not bound by that same limitation? We must act today in order to preserve tomorrow.” —Ronald Reagan


“In fiscal year 2010, according to a recent report from The Heritage Foundation, the Obama administration adopted regulations that will cost more than $26.5 billion a year. The nanny state isn’t just a nagging do-gooder — it’s a costly scold. … In a free market, insurers compete for your business. … [B]ut with the array of new rules we now have, courtesy of President Obama’s signature health bill, Washington isn’t making it easy for you. A laundry list of new regulations are decreeing what insurance companies can offer, including coverage for dependent children up to age 26, no coverage exclusions for pre-existing conditions, and no co-pays or deductibles for preventative services. … Fuel economy standards are no better. By increasing the cost of new cars, they cause more drivers to stick with older, less fuel-efficient vehicles. And research shows that by lowering the per-mile cost of driving, fuel standards actually induce people to drive more — defeating the purpose of having the standards in the first place. Tax bills are just part of what you pay for government. Federal regulations cost the average American household some $17,500 per year. It’s time Congress put a stop to this expensive meddling. Rolling back the $26.5 billion in rules added just last year would be a good start.” –Heritage Foundation president Ed Feulner


“Government control of the economy, no matter in whose behalf, has been the source of all the evils in our industrial society — and the solution is laissez-faire capitalism, i.e., the abolition of any and all forms of intervention in production and trade, the separation of State and Economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of Church and State.” –author and philosopher Ayn Rand (1905-1982)

For the Record

“[L]ast week, our storied sixth naval fleet that for 65 years has maintained the Mediterranean Sea as an American lake, could not muster a single destroyer, frigate or other modest naval ship to save a few hundred Americans stranded in Libya. The State Department had to rent a ferry that was not seaworthy to do the job. The whole world is watching — and drawing its cruel conclusions. … Before we conclude that the defense budget ‘must take its fair share’ of cuts, we should understand that it is not the Pentagon that will be hurt — it is 300 million Americans and our economy that is threatened by a weak military and Navy that cannot protect our interests.” –columnist Tony Blankley

Faith & Family

“Dr. Bernard Nathanson described himself as a man who ‘helped usher in this barbaric age’ of abortion-on-demand, ‘the most atrocious holocaust in the history of the United States.’ As one of the founders of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (now called NARAL) … he paved the way for Roe v. Wade. Yet his funeral was filled with pro-life activists. … He committed his last abortion in 1979. Certain that it would convince others that abortion destroys a living being who can feel pain, he narrated the film ‘Silent Scream,’ which showed the aborting of a 12-week-old baby. As the baby recoils from the deadly instruments and opens his mouth, Nathanson states, ‘This is the silent scream of a child threatened imminently with extinction.’ … The abortionist who made up lies to legitimize abortion, now spread the truth to save lives. … On February 21, 2011, he succumbed to cancer at age 84. Dr. Nathanson’s life is testimony of the power of God’s grace, the power of truth. It is a profound encouragement that just as God created us, He can re-create any one of us, no matter the depth of our sin.” –columnist Wendy Wright


“[W]ho are ‘your people’? I ask because U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who is black, used the phrase ‘my people’ in congressional testimony [last] week. … In pandering to skin-deep identity politics and exacerbating race-consciousness, Holder has given the rest of us a golden opportunity to stand up, identify ‘our people’ and show the liberal poseurs what post-racialism really looks like. … It’s government of, by and for the people — all the people. Not just the ones still shackled by reflexive Democratic Party loyalty. We are beholden not to our skin pigment or ethnic tribes, but to American ideals, tradition, history and faith in the individual.” –columnist Michelle Malkin

The Last Word

“So in this country we have the liberals — the progressives — and their new ideas to change the country and lead us forward. And not just lead us forward, but win the future. Their obstacles are the conservatives who are scared of change and stuck in their old ways of thinking. … At least that’s the conventional wisdom…. Which leads me to what seems to be a really obvious question: What, if any, of the ideas of liberals these days are new? … With the economy hurting and people crying out for change, what brand new revolutionary idea did they get to first? Have the government spend lots of money. I’ll let that sink in for a moment. It’s a really new idea; it might take some time to comprehend a concept so novel and revolutionary as that one. I mean, it’s not like it’s the same solution the Democrats have had for everything for the past one hundred years. Maybe we should tell Europe about this brand new idea; let’s get this revolution of government spending lots of money to really spread. And that wasn’t the only new idea the liberals had. They also had another innovative idea to save the failing car companies and fix health care. What was it? Well hold on to your hats, because it’s pretty crazy and fresh: The government could take over private industry. What a new idea! What a groundbreaking way of looking at things! … But the new ideas don’t stop there. Have you heard of President Obama’s latest idea to really get the economy going? Build fast trains. What an insane new idea! I mean, it’s totally something innovative that will ‘win the future’ and not an economic solution that would seem more in place in the late 1800s. Some of you may have been confused by those last few paragraphs; what I was doing was being insincere in a humorous way. It’s a brand new thing called ‘sarcasm’ — just as new as all those liberal ideas. Seriously, though, shouldn’t ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive,’ when used to describe the left, be in scare quotes, because what exactly are they pushing that isn’t some old, failed idea of the last century?” –humor columnist Frank J. Fleming


(Please pray for our Armed Forces standing in harm’s way around the world, and for their families — especially families of those fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, who granted their lives in defense of American liberty.)

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