Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Saradise Lost - Book 5 - Chapter 40: Palin's Bizarre Reaction to the Supreme Court Westboro Decision - Updated

Leave it to Sarah Palin to distill one of the most interestingly plain cases in recent U.S. Supreme Court history down to a tweet:
Common sense & decency absent as wacko "church" allowed hate msgs spewed@ soldiers' funerals but we can't invoke God's name in public square
Leave it to Palin to confuse the 1st Amendment itself with the Establishment Clause. She's done it before, though. As Justin Elliot observes at

Palin's counter-argument here is that "common sense" requires that offensive protests be banned.

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")

And then:

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.

Interestingly, the sole dissenter in this morning's decision, Justice Samuel Alito echoes part of what irks Palin in his written remarks:
Our profound national commitment to free and open debate is not a licence for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case.

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.

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.

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


Anonymous said...

Palin is too dumb for words...

(ooops, I just violated her 1st Amendment rights!).

Anonymous said...

A person could go crazy trying to determine what Sarah's views are on issues. She flipflops as often as the weather changes. She's told so many opportunistic lies that she can't remember what she's supposed to believe. In Bailey's tell-all, he alleged that Sarah couldn't remember what her public stance was on sex education so Bailey had to dig up her old filled-out surveys to inform her of her beliefs. Pathetic on so many levels.

However I think everyone can agree that Sarah truly believes that making money and the news are her primary goals in life. She doesn't even need to jot those two objectives on her hand to remember them.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that she deserves credit for distilling this. That implies some thought processes and knowledge I see little evidence of.

Simply pick and choose a tidbit "Westboro can continue to do this" mixed with the previously held belief "support the troops" and you get the tweet.

There is no irony in the tweet, because the definition of "common sense" and "decency" as relates to ""church"" and "hate msgs spewed"
are clearly understood to be everything but what she and her supporters do.

As is there no question in her mind which God is allowed to be invoked in public squares.

Philip Munger said...

anon @ 4:42 - very well put.

Anonymous said...

The woman grows more idiotic every day. I wish Fox would suspend HER!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the quotation, Phil. I was thinking of it earlier when I saw Gryphen's post, but couldn't remember who said it.

Normally, I give you a hard time about profanity in your posts, because I can't just send links to my less enlightened family members, but this time, I highly approve.

The woman is a fucking idiot who has been working hard the last couple of years to prove it beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Anonymous said...

Palin, although admired by many of my colleagues as a "defender" or "advocate" of liberty, is just another self-serving politician hoping to ride the recent political waves to fortune.

As a liberty minded advocate of freedom, I find her mixing the 1A with her personal tastes disgusting and hypocritical.

She is exactly why the at-first-promising-Tea-and-Crumpets-party (that is becoming disturbingly Republicanized by the Dead Elephant Party), and will contribute precisely zilch to true freedom in this nation.

Hey look at that, Philip, you're a Progressive, and I'm a...uh...militant... "small l" libertarian, and we've so far agreed on three issues. Whoda thunk it?

Good article.



dragonpuff said...

This pretty much sums up the poor ignorant woman. . . .

She walks the country in a huge ugly hat screaming that people are out to tear her hat up. They have no right to tear her hat up and the Constitution says they can't.

Enter another ugly hat wearing idiot. She basically wants to rip their hat off their head, screams that the Constitution and those who uphold others ugly hat wearers acts are wrong.

This woman is one for the ages. The Middle Ages.

Anonymous said...

Dumb! Just canned words come from her mouth. She is really thoughtless set of cant expressions.

As to not being able to utter religious stuff in public square.. the only names we cannot seem to be able to say are Allah, Krishna, Buddhah. If it is the good old bajeezus... no one cares. But try putting and do a namaaz (rather than need down and cross yourself) you are in deep doo-doo. The guy who put a square on the floor to do some yoga and meditate gets arrested for "criminal tresspassing" What a free country (for few)!!

And, that few is what SP wants to promote. Hell No!