Alito Gets it Right about Free SpeechBy Russell Arben Fox for FRONT PORCH REPUBLIC
As I predicted last October, the Supreme Court has made short work of the argument that the odious, bigoted, hateful, ridiculous Westboro Baptist Church ought to be subject to lawsuits for the emotional distress which their ugly protests cause. No, it seems, the First Amendment triumphs over all. Perhaps that is a good thing–the comments on my post here at FPR ran mostly against my desire to stop seeing free speech treated as such an absolute fetish that communities and states can legitimately empower citizens to demand, at the very least, that speakers of hate be made to accept the costs of advertise ideas so obviously opposed to widely held standards. I take solace, however, in knowing that one justice on the Supreme Court, Samuel Alito, a justice whose decisions I’ve mostly disliked, at least stands firm against treating allowing individuals to pretty much say whatever they want whenever they want, without consequences…and in doing so, I think he’s taking a stand on behalf of the ability of localities to articulate a moral and public order, which of course they ought (within limits; neither I nor Alito want to throw out the First Amendment here!) to be able to do. Anyway, for anyone interested, my thoughts on the 8-1 decision in Snyder v. Phelps is here. Enjoy.