[/break1]marshillchurch.org/2011/06/16/westboro-baptist-church-this-false-prophet-and-his-blind-lemmings-welcome-you-to-our-whore-house-for-god%E2%80%99s-grace-and-free-donuts/]http://blog.marshillchurch.org/2011/06/ ... ee-donuts/
This Sunday, the infamous Westboro “Baptist” “Church” (WBC) is scheduled to picket our Federal Way campus in Auburn. You can find more about WBC from their very loving and gracious website, affectionately titled, godhatesfags.com......Jesus Christ also said we should “love our neighbors” and even “love our enemies.”So, Fred and WBC, on Jesus’s behalf, this false prophet and the blind lemmings at our “Whore House” welcome you in love.The sermon next Sunday will be from Luke’s Gospel on how God saved a really bad man named Zacchaeus and how the self-righteous, holier-than-thou religious folks who saw Jesus lovingly befriend him stood around complaining and grumbling—or basically picketing the love of God.
Constitutional issues?----------------------------Camp LeJeune:Marines and their families were exposed to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune from 1957 to 1987. About one million people were affected. The toxins are trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), dichloroethylene (DCE), benzene and vinyl chloride. The fuel leaks were known and documented but not disclosed.The Virginian-Pilot from the Washington Post Jan. 23, 2012 [link]Documentary examines Camp Lejeune water issue,http://hamptonroads.com/2012/01/documentary-examines-camp-lejeune-water-issue[/link]
President Barack Obama signed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 into law on Monday, providing a wide-ranging package of benefits to military personnel and enacting new restrictions on protests of service member funerals....The new law will have strong implications for the Westboro Baptist Church, a Kansas-based organization which the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have labeled a hate group. Westboro Baptist Church has drawn media attention for its brand of protest, which frequently links the deaths of soldiers to America's growing acceptance of gays.Under the new legislation, protests must be held at least 300 feet from military funerals and are prohibited two hours before or after a service. The law counters a 2011 Supreme Court ruling, which found that displays such as Westboro's were protected under the First Amendment.Members of the church responded defiantly to a Huffington Post report following Congress' passage of the bill, claiming that the law's restrictions could also have an effect on counter-demonstrations organized in response to Westboro's attempts to disrupt military services.
Mike Partain didn't believe the rumors about a place called Baby Heaven until he visited a Jacksonville, N.C., graveyard and wandered into a section where newborns were laid to rest.Surrounded by hundreds of tiny marble headstones, he started to cry. A documentary film crew that followed him for a story about water contamination at Camp Lejeune heard his whimpers through a microphone clipped to his clothes. The crew dashed from another part of the graveyard and found him asking, "Why them and not me?"The scene at Jacksonville City Cemetery is among the more poignant moments in the documentary "Semper Fi: Always Faithful," about the men, women and children affected over three decades by contaminated water at the nation's largest Marine base. The film made the short list of 15 documentary features being considered for an Oscar; the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will cut the list to five Tuesday."Semper Fi" follows Partain and Jerome "Jerry" Ensminger, the men credited with uncovering records showing that the amount of leaked fuel that led to water contamination was many times greater than the Marine Corps acknowledged.
Obviously.Congress may enact reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on protests, but may not regulate the content of speech. Arguably, regulating speech targeted at military funerals is directed at its content to some extent, but so long as the statute is not explicitly directed at content, I believe it will be treated as a time, place or manner restriction.Statutes which have been upheld to some limited extent that are similar to funeral protest statutes are statutes aimed at regulating protests of residences. Protecting the privacy and dignity of people at a time of grief at the ceremony meant to do so is a legitimate and even compelling government interest. Arguably, and I believe the courts would agree, regulating protests of military funerals is even more compelling an interest, as honoring the dead is critical to the morale of the military and to the ability of military units to function cohesively.That's the first part of a strict scrutiny test: that the enactment serve a compelling government interest. I believe the statute passes that with flying colors. However, the enactment must also be narrowly tailored to achieve that interest. While time, place and manner restrictions are subject to a lessened degree of scrutiny, they are still subject to a challenge for overbreadth, that is, that they impermissibly burden speech more than is necessary to achieve the compelling government interest.Here, the analysis becomes quite technical, and I won't go into this before looking more closely at the statute and what analysts I trust, like Eugene Volokh or Glenn Greenwald, have to say about it, as well as the briefs in any case filed almost immediately as a facial challenge.The analysis will be on whether these restrictions are overly broad.
HuffPost Aug. 6, 2012 [link]"Honoring America's Veterans Act Signed By Obama, Restricting Westboro Military Funeral Protests",http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/06/honoring-americas-veterans-act-obama_n_1748454.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular[/link]Constitutional issues?
Members of the church responded defiantly to a Huffington Post report following Congress' passage of the bill, claiming that the law's restrictions could also have an effect on counter-demonstrations organized in response to Westboro's attempts to disrupt military services.
Here, we get into the difference between a facial and an as applied challenge. Three hundred feet may very well not be overly broad, depending on how that is interpreted. Is that three hundred feet from the interment site? Three hundred feet from any mourner? Three hundred feet from the outside of the cemetery? Three hundred feet from any property belonging to any military base in which the funeral is occurring? Does the three hundred feet create a floating buffer zone around any procession going to or from the funeral?I order those possibilities from one that would certainly be upheld as applied to one that would almost certainly be not. At least with relation to the 300 feet restriction, there are reasonable ways of interpreting that limitation that would withstand an as-applied challenge. Therefore, I would surmise that the 300 feet limitation would survive a facial challenge (that is a challenge that the limitation is not subject to any constitutional interpretation and must be struck down in its entirety). The statute actually states the "boundary of the location of such funeral" as the limit, but again, that is a phrase subject both to reasonable and unreasonable interpretation. It would appear not to create an indefinite buffer zone, but instead to extend to 500 feet the limitation on action intended to and actually "impeding or tending to impede the access to or egress from such location[.]"There are, however, applications of it that would be problematic, and those would be addressed by a litigant whose rights were impacted by an allegedly overbroad application of the statute.I believe the two hours before or after the funeral restriction has facial problems. It effectively prohibits an entire class of speech, that is, speech directed at military funerals, by prohibiting them from the only time at which such a protest can possibly have its desired effect. Many would argue, with some emotional appeal to the argument, that such speech (especially as exemplified by the Phelps filth) is so utterly worthless as to be undeserving of constitutional protection. However emotionally appealing such an argument may be, though, speech directed at military funerals is neither a threat of or incitement to imminent lawless action, obscenity in the constitutional sense, nor "fighting words" in the constitutional sense. There is no category of speech which, simply because of its offensiveness, is not protected.However, the law limits its penalties to speech within the boundaries "that is not part of such funeral and that disturbs or tends to disturb the peace or good order of such funeral" and with the intent of disturbing the peace or good order of such funeral[.]" That limitation may preserve the law against a facial challenge.Of course, language like "disturbing the peace" itself has a legal meaning, and the statute would have to adhere to constitutional limitations on what constitutes unprotected "disturbing the peace" as compared simply to disturbing the people. So my prediction would be that the 300 foot restriction will survive a facial challenge, and the time restriction is also amenable to a constitutional interpretation, so the statute is facially constitutional as far as I can tell. There may be some wrinkle I'm missing at first glance or some phrase that is facially unconstitutional. I see the two hours limitation as being the most likely to be applied unconstitutionally.This will be analyzed on a case by case basis by the courts. I hope the Phelps scum have to spend a lot of money to defend the rights of their betters.[/break1]govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr1627/text]The law as it stands:
Under the new legislation, protests must be held at least 300 feet from military funerals and are prohibited two hours before or after a service.
And since I didn't clearly state it in this article, the [/break1]umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/timeplacemannertest.html]modified test for time, place and manner restrictions.
Sec. 1388. Prohibition on disruptions of funerals of members or former members of the Armed Forces‘(a) Prohibition- For any funeral of a member or former member of the Armed Forces that is not located at a cemetery under the control of the National Cemetery Administration or part of Arlington National Cemetery, it shall be unlawful for any person to engage in an activity during the period beginning 120 minutes before and ending 120 minutes after such funeral, any part of which activity--‘(1)(A) takes place within the boundaries of the location of such funeral or takes place within 300 feet of the point of the intersection between--‘(i) the boundary of the location of such funeral; and‘(ii) a road, pathway, or other route of ingress to or egress from the location of such funeral; and‘(B) includes any individual willfully making or assisting in the making of any noise or diversion--‘(i) that is not part of such funeral and that disturbs or tends to disturb the peace or good order of such funeral; and‘(ii) with the intent of disturbing the peace or good order of such funeral;‘(2)(A) is within 500 feet of the boundary of the location of such funeral; and‘(B) includes any individual--‘(i) willfully and without proper authorization impeding or tending to impede the access to or egress from such location; and‘(ii) with the intent to impede the access to or egress from such location; or‘(3) is on or near the boundary of the residence, home, or domicile of any surviving member of the deceased person’s immediate family and includes any individual willfully making or assisting in the making of any noise or diversion--‘(A) that disturbs or tends to disturb the peace of the persons locate
d at such location; and‘(B) with the intent of disturbing such peace.‘(b) Penalty- Any person who violates subsection (a) shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than 1 year, or both.
[/break1]umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/timeplacemanner.htm]This site has a simple explanation.[/edit]
1. Does the regulation serve an important governmental interest?2. Is the government interest served by the regulation unrelated to the suppression of a particular message?3. Is the regulation narrowly tailored to serve the government's interest?4. Does the regulation leave open ample alternative means for communicating messages?[/li]
I would hesitate to guess. The FBI has arrest powers, obviously, and can enforce federal criminal law. I'd also imagine the appropriate military police agency would have the power to arrest for violations of federal law on base or, perhaps, directed at military property and violating the zone protected by this law. I'd assume other agencies could arrest for violations of this law, though, if within their jurisdiction somehow.I think arrest is likely to be used to break up such protests if necessary, but I think a full criminal prosecution under the statute is unlikely unless there are other violations of the law involved like vandalism or trespassing.The law also creates a civil cause of action that can be prosecuted by the Attorney General in the appropriate District Court or by any private person affected by violations of the statute. Specifically, "[a]ny person, including a surviving member of the deceased person’s immediate family, who suffers injury as a result of conduct that violates this section[.]"I imagine enforcement of this statute is more likely to be by civil suit than criminal prosecution, at least in most cases.
Thanks, Loh. As always, you are enormously helpful. A question: who is responsible for enforcing this law? Has protesting at military funerals become a matter for the FBI?
Appeals court: Town can restrict funeral protests
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A St. Louis suburb can enforce a funeral protest ordinance aimed at preventing picketing by an anti-gay Kansas church, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling reverses a previous ruling by a three-judge panel of the court. The panel ruling last year prohibited the St. Louis County town of Manchester, Mo., from enforcing the law it drafted in response to activities by members of Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church.
A lawsuit claiming the Manchester ordinance violated the First Amendment right to free speech was filed by Shirley Phelps-Roper, a Westboro member and daughter of pastor Fred Phelps.
Members of the church frequently protest at funerals of soldiers with signs containing messages like "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "Thank God for 9/11," claiming the deaths are God's punishment for American immorality and tolerance of homosexuality and abortion.
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