Common sense & decency absent as wacko "church" allowed hate msgs spewed@ soldiers' funerals but we can't invoke God's name in public squareLeave it to Palin to confuse the 1st Amendment itself with the Establishment Clause. She's done it before, though. As Justin Elliot observes at Salon.com:
Palin's counter-argument here is that "common sense" requires that offensive protests be banned.Interestingly, the sole dissenter in this morning's decision, Justice Samuel Alito echoes part of what irks Palin in his written remarks:
The former Alaska governor has a history of invoking the principle of "free speech" at odd times. Here she is in October 2008 during a radio interview:
If they convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations, then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.
In response, Glenn Greenwald noted at the time: "The First Amendment is actually not that complicated. It can be read from start to finish in about 10 seconds. It bars the Government from abridging free speech rights. It doesn't have anything to do with whether you're free to say things without being criticized, or whether you can comment on blogs without being edited, or whether people can bar you from their private planes because they don't like what you've said."
Palin made a similar remark last year when defending Dr. Laura, who retired after she faced intense criticism for using the N-word on her radio show. Palin tweeted then:
Dr.Laura:don't retreat...reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence"isn't American,not fair")
Dr.Laura=even more powerful & effective w/out the shackles, so watch out Constitutional obstructionists. And b thankful 4 her voice,America!
Again, Palin seemed to be equating what was (in her opinion) unfair criticism as somehow an infringement on First Amendment rights. The government, of course, had no role in forcing Dr. Laura to retire following her controversial remarks.
Our profound national commitment to free and open debate is not a licence for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case.Westboro Baptist Church sucks. Bigtime. So do skinhead anti-Semitic marches and KKK rallies. But all these objectionable acts are protected under the 1st Amendment.
In order to have a society in which public issues can be openly and vigorously debated, it is not necessary to allow the brutalisation of innocent victims like the petitioner.
Elliot concludes his article on Palin's reaction with:
Under Palin's interpretation of the First Amendment, criticism of public figures threatens free speech, but peaceful protests she doesn't like should be banned.Compare Palin's self-serving whine to early 20th century British freethinker, Evelyn Beatrice Hall:
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
Update: Gryphen has more on this at The Immoral Minority. He expresses his feelings about Palin's newest "Whooooooosh!" Moment:
However since this is my blog, and in no way controlled by the FCC, I will expand on that thought: "That woman, is a FUCKING idiot!"image - Evelyn Beatrice Hall with sword, ready to defend even Goddam fucking idiots like Palin