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From my e-mail:Supreme Court Case Regarding Pickets Could Weaken First Amendment ProtectionsThis just came to the newsroom and got me thinking about the effectiveness of picketing in modern culture. The press release (which continues) is boiled down to, "I hate what you say, but will die to protect your right to say it."
Washington, DC - The case involving controversial protests at the funerals of fallen soldiers is raising concerns about the future of First Amendment protections for all Americans. Liberty Counsel is concerned about the effects this case could have on First Amendment rights and has filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, warning of the potential for serious harm to the First Amendment.
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.