Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hurray for the First Amendment + Bad Phoenix Cops

I'm late posting this (in Internet time, anyway), but do you remember the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month upholding the First Amendment and our right (among other things) to free speech? Freedom to exercise religion too, as the instant case was about both, Fred Phelps' group's right to exercise their religion by exercising their free speech. (As here.)

Free speech, even if considered "hateful" by some, is a cherished right in our county. (Unless your name is judge Mary Hamm. Then you believe free speech is "dangerous" and you cheat, engaging in ex parte communication to silence people with bogus Injunctions based on what you "imagine.") The Westboro Baptist case about free speech was so obvious, it's sad it had to all the way to the Supreme Court to be sustained with a 7 to 1 vote.

Even a legal group associated with Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, Liberty Council agrees, saying
Sanctions such as the civil damages pose a significant threat to First Amendment freedoms by chilling the very kind of controversial speech our Founding Fathers sought to protect. Liberty Counsel does not endorse the message contained in the protesters’ signs and other communications and even expressly condemns the offensive tactics of Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church and the content of their rhetoric. However, Liberty Counsel stands with the Founders in supporting the right of protesters and other citizens to present messages of their choosing, even offensive messages, without the chilling effect of tort or other liability or governmental censure.
As another example of protected free speech, see the blog badphoenixcops. While I applaud the spirit of badphoenixcops, their language, photos and style are very coarse. And while it's true that unless you repent, you'll pay in hell, it's not my place to give you hell. So my blogs aren't as abusive as theirs.

Anyway, these guys have targeted now former Phoenix police chief Jack Harris (among others) in a relentless negative publicity campaign. (So the First Amendment right for redress of grievances is invoked too.) To the point that they have achieved "critical mass," where police officers from inside the Phoenix PD anonymously sent photos, tapes, memos, tips, etc. Someone from within the Phoenix PD even left a nice present at their door.

As a result of their blog (in part), Jack Harris finally left office.

So hurray for free speech. The funny (ironic) thing about free speech is that those who would silence our free speech (generally those on the Left) are the same who say anything they want about us who are right, as in Wisconsin Union protests and Chris Matthews on Hardball.