Perhaps the phrase “Sets DailyKOS Straight” is a bit of a stretch. These left wing whacks are so far out there that the word “straight” is not in their dictionary. But the left does have a special place in their little black hearts for Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
Part of the problem they have with him is his ability to think for himself. And this one is not really that hard to understand.
The even more far out members of the Westboro Baptist Church, the infamous cult known for picketing and protesting American soldiers killed in the line of duty and their bigoted, anti-gay hatred campaign, which seems to make them an equal opportunity offender, are tied up in a court battle. They lost the first round when the father of a fallen hero won a lawsuit against them. On appeal, however, the lower court ruling was overturned and the “church” was granted legal expenses. Seems the appeals court believed that the term “free speech” mentioned in the Constitution means, well, free speech.
Now the awarding of fees to the antagonistic Westboro cult was more than some could take. But the soldier’s father had failed to file an objection on time, and the court was pretty much compelled to award the money.
Now the case goes to the Supreme Court to test the “limits” of free speech.
Attorney General Cuccinelli has declined to jump on the overcrowded bandwagon with 48 of his fellow AG’s siding with the father.
There are few things more repulsive than watching someone burn an American flag to those who love America. But this repulsive act is protected free speech. Would DailyKOS be whining so loud if the church had simply burned a flag? Well, it is hard to imagine anyone who would execute such an act of desecration to of a symbol of this country that is not a regular KOS reader. They attract this type of pond scum, beg money from them and will never criticize these despicable acts. And, sadly, it is hard to believe that KOS would even care if the Westboro cult was not also anti-gay. That may be the only aspect that causes them to raise an eyebrow.
But what the brain-trusts at KOS fail to realize is that if the Supreme Court sides with the father, the next time they want to protest a war, or anything else, this ruling will come up and bite them – hard. Same with the Tea Party or any other protests. There is a great risk of losing free speech. And forcing us to remain silent. If someone finds your protest upsetting, or in poor taste, you better hire a lawyer.
The irony of the entire matter is that the soldier gave his life representing the very people that allow the fruitcake church to protest. In asking the Supreme Court to rule against them, the liberty our soldier’s fight and die for is lost.
So, Virginia’s Attorney General has pushed aside the emotional tears and decided that standing up for our first amendment right, no matter how bitter the speech, is his job.
Virginia should be grateful that Cuccinelli is using his head, unlike most of the emotional basket cases on both sides of the political spectrum.
This is Cuccinelli’s response:
COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Office of the Attorney General
|Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, II
|900 East Main Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Attorney General Cuccinelli’s statement on not filing a brief in Snyder v. Phelps
RICHMOND (June 1, 2010) — Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has decided not to join other states in an amicus brief on behalf of Albert Snyder in Snyder v. Phelps, which will soon be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. Mr. Snyder is the father of Matthew Snyder, a soldier killed in Iraq whose funeral was picketed by Fred Phelps and his followers at the infamous Westboro Baptist Church.
The attorney general’s office deplores the absolutely vile and despicable acts of Fred Phelps and his followers. We also greatly sympathize with the Snyder family and all families who have experienced the hatefulness of these people. The attorney general has always been a strong supporter of the military, both in his words and in his work as a Senator. But the consequences of this case had to be looked at beyond what would happen just to Phelps and his followers.
This office has decided not to file a brief in Snyder v. Phelps, because the case could set a precedent that could severely curtail certain valid exercises of free speech. If protestors – whether political, civil rights, pro-life, or environmental – said something that offended the object of the protest to the point where that person felt damaged, the protestors could be sued. It then becomes a very subjective and difficult determination as to when the line is crossed from severely offensive speech to that which inflicts emotional distress. Several First Amendment scholars agree.
Virginia already has a statute that we believe balances free speech rights while stopping and even jailing those who would be so contemptible as to disrupt funeral or memorial services. That statute, 18.2-415(B), punishes as a class one misdemeanor (up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500) someone who willfully disrupts a funeral or memorial service to the point of preventing or interfering with the orderly conduct of the event.
We do not think that regulation of speech through vague common law torts like intentional infliction of emotional distress strikes the proper balance between free speech and avoiding the unconscionable disruption of funerals. We think our statute does.
So long as the protesters stay within the letter of the law, the Constitution protects their right to express their views. In Virginia, if Phelps or others attempt this repugnant behavior, cross the line and violate the law, the attorney general’s office stands ready to provide any assistance to local prosecutors to vindicate the law.