Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Why Fred Phelps Can Be a Jerk? Cohen!

The history behind the Phelps exoneration leads right back to SCOTUS' mentally-impaired Warren Court.

...In the world as it was when the Court was governed by the old Chaplinsky, the public ethic could be stated in this way: When people ventured into public places, they could be asked to restrain themselves out of a respect for the sensibilities of others they are likely to meet in these public settings.

But Cohen v. California, in bringing a new relativism into the law, inverted the traditional teaching: The assailants were now the presumptive bearers of a constitutional right to express themselves, and people who were offended by them had an obligation now to avert their eyes, cultivate tougher skin—or simply shun public places. People would simply have to stop going to restaurants in certain parts of Washington and other cities if they no longer wished to move through a chain of hawkers emitting personal insults and putting on gross displays.

Yah, well. Stare dumb-cisis and all that rot.

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