|Quoting MBMBOS (Reply 3):|
How does one prevent the Westboro Baptist Church from protesting outside of funerals without compromising first amendment rights in general? It's pretty challenging, actually.
It is good this law is being challenged (just to make sure it meets judicial review), but it looks like it will hold up in the end (which is okay by me). You see, Constitutionally, this law should hold up because the law is "narrowly tailored" and is only a restriction on the time, place, and manner of the speech, not on the speech itself. Not only that, but their speech definitely fall under the "Fighting Words" Doctrine of speech.
There are a few cases in First Amendment Case Law one could point to for fighting words, but I'm going to use Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire
315 US 568 (1942). Chaplinsky was a Jehovah's Witness who was preaching on a street corner. He was approached by a New Hampshire law enforcement officer and told to stop preaching.
Chaplinsky responded, "You are a God-damned racketeer" and "a damned Fascist," and was arrested. The case went to the Supreme Court and they upheld the arrest, stating basically that in certain circumstances, and only in narrow and well defined classes of speech, the "prevention and punishment of [speech] have never been thought to be Constitutional Problems." These intances include the "lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous, and the insulting or "fighting words"
those which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace." They go on to state that this type of speech carries with it almost no political or social value and has little benefit to culture or society as a whole.
I do think that holding up signs in front of a soldiers funeral that say "Fag Troops" and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" could easily be construed as fighting words of inflammatory speech
|Quoting MBMBOS (Reply 12):|
The Missouri law bans any such activity "in front of or about" a cemetary. What if we banished any sort of protest from occurring "in front of or about" the center of activity? One could argue that not allowing protests onsite effectively undermines that act of protest, thereby interfering with freedom of speech.
Again, Time Place and Manner restrictions...the speech itself is not restricted, they can still say whatever they want, and keep their "God Hates Fag's" website up...they juts cannot do so outside or within so many feet of a funeral/funeral home.