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Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:59 PM

Congress Passes Restrictions On Military Funeral Protests, Delivers Blow To Westboro Baptist Church

Source: Huffington Post

Westboro Baptist Church protesters will soon be severely limited in their ability to disrupt military funerals, after Congress passed a sweeping veterans bill this week that includes restrictions on such demonstrations.

According to "The Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012," which is now headed to President Barack Obama's desk, demonstrators will no longer be allowed to picket military funerals two hours before or after a service. The bill also requires protestors to be at least 300 feet away from grieving family members.

This aspect of the legislation was introduced by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who, at the urging of a teenage constituent, proposed new limitations on military funeral demonstrations as a response to a 2011 Supreme Court case that ruled such actions were protected under the First Amendment.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/02/veterans-bill-military-funerals_n_1733080.html



Watch them take this to the Supreme Court.

57 replies, 8325 views

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Reply Congress Passes Restrictions On Military Funeral Protests, Delivers Blow To Westboro Baptist Church (Original post)
TrogL Aug 2012 OP
littlewolf Aug 2012 #1
annabanana Aug 2012 #2
Swede Atlanta Aug 2012 #13
naaman fletcher Aug 2012 #17
RKP5637 Aug 2012 #51
canuckledragger Aug 2012 #19
mike_c Aug 2012 #32
Sunny on my mind Aug 2012 #44
bucolic_frolic Aug 2012 #14
awoke_in_2003 Aug 2012 #25
Bragi Aug 2012 #3
Jeff In Milwaukee Aug 2012 #6
gopiscrap Aug 2012 #36
DCKit Aug 2012 #20
Swede Atlanta Aug 2012 #4
Scairp Aug 2012 #29
annabanana Aug 2012 #5
Bragi Aug 2012 #9
rDigital Aug 2012 #42
Kurovski Aug 2012 #54
Ash_F Aug 2012 #7
McCamy Taylor Aug 2012 #8
Bragi Aug 2012 #11
rDigital Aug 2012 #43
Hugabear Aug 2012 #12
Kurovski Aug 2012 #55
Jim Lane Aug 2012 #35
NYC Liberal Aug 2012 #40
SoapBox Aug 2012 #10
atreides1 Aug 2012 #15
littlewolf Aug 2012 #30
Telly Savalas Aug 2012 #50
NYC Liberal Aug 2012 #48
twizzler Aug 2012 #16
Crow73 Aug 2012 #18
brooklynite Aug 2012 #21
SemperEadem Aug 2012 #23
RKP5637 Aug 2012 #53
azurnoir Aug 2012 #22
SemperEadem Aug 2012 #24
and-justice-for-all Aug 2012 #26
NYC Liberal Aug 2012 #38
and-justice-for-all Aug 2012 #46
NYC Liberal Aug 2012 #47
Panasonic Aug 2012 #27
awoke_in_2003 Aug 2012 #28
Bandit Aug 2012 #31
freshwest Aug 2012 #34
Bandit Aug 2012 #37
freshwest Aug 2012 #41
louis-t Aug 2012 #33
NYC Liberal Aug 2012 #39
randome Aug 2012 #45
lynne Aug 2012 #49
MrSlayer Aug 2012 #52
jberryhill Aug 2012 #56
jberryhill Aug 2012 #57

Response to TrogL (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:06 PM

1. bet the court agree to hear it nt

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Response to littlewolf (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:22 PM

2. They will uphold it..

and OUR freedom to demonstrate will erode.

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Response to annabanana (Reply #2)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:41 PM

13. You think it is acceptable to demonstrate at a military funeral?

 

I realize this is a 1st Amendment issue but I have no problem with the Court upholding REASONABLE restrictions on any constitutional right. The Founding Fathers didn't say these were boundless rights.

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Response to Swede Atlanta (Reply #13)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 03:14 PM

17. I don't think it's acceptable to treat military funerals differently than civillian.

 

Why is it ok to disrupt a cop's funeral but not a marine's?

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Response to naaman fletcher (Reply #17)

Mon Aug 6, 2012, 12:38 AM

51. Excellent point. Also, I don't see the first amendment as giving totally

unbounded freedom of speech. This group has clearly crossed the line IMO.

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Response to Swede Atlanta (Reply #13)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 03:22 PM

19. I'm assuming the poster meant

legitimate protests, not the hateful, bigoted, provoke people to action to sue them as a revenue source trouble-making that the WBC does

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Response to Swede Atlanta (Reply #13)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 05:29 PM

32. absolutely....

If this isn't unconstitutional, I'll be very surprised.

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Response to Swede Atlanta (Reply #13)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 01:53 PM

44. What's "reasonable"

And who decides?

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Response to annabanana (Reply #2)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:41 PM

14. Freedom to Demonstrate Already Eroded

Demonstrators couldn't get within blocks of a Bush Presidential Rally.

And I really wonder if this isn't all about publicity.

Certainly protestors don't often hope to convert the people they protest against.

As politicians, I would hope they do hear about the protestors and at least acknowledge
that there are two sides to debate. I'm not sure that happens very often though.

Reducing confrontation and preventing violence should be a viable goal of policy.

Respecting the rights of the minority, without which we have not much of a democracy,
by seeing that their topics and protests receive adequate media attention should be a goal
of the third rail, the media.

When protest causes emotional pain to the grieving I think we've crossed a line. Let the
mourning have its time, place, and respect. These people have lost sons and daughters and
husbands and wives in the service of our country. The least we can do is to provide them
a safe, calm, supportive place to grieve as they participate in their right of passage.

If protestors are heard in the media, that's enough. Rubbing it in the faces of those who lost
loved ones is simply distasteful.

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Response to bucolic_frolic (Reply #14)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 04:49 PM

25. And most places...

make you obtain permits to protest. If you have to ask permission, it isn't a right.

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Response to TrogL (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:22 PM

3. I hope the ACLU opposes this unconstitutional supression of free speech

I do not support this law and hope it is found to be unconstitutional.

We should be more concerned about suppression of free speech than we are about whatever non-violent, protesters might say, however idiotic and even hateful they may be.

The antidote to free speech is more free speech, not suppression of free speech.

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Response to Bragi (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:26 PM

6. Much as I hate those pricks....

I have to agree with you. I'd much rather see groups of concerned citizens organize human shields to protect the families than see this sort of this codified.

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Response to Jeff In Milwaukee (Reply #6)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 01:12 AM

36. Yup I agree a 1000%

instituting a law like this takes us on the slippery slope of eroding all our rights!!!

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Response to Bragi (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 04:20 PM

20. +1 we've got other avenues to explore. nt

 

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Response to TrogL (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:23 PM

4. I'm glad to see this development......

 

The Court will not strike this down. The Court has repeatedly held that rights are not boundless. In other words reasonable restrictions can be placed around constitutional rights. They have upheld regulations that require protestors remain a certain distance from abortion clinics, for example. I don't think they will have a problem with the 300 feet requirement and I suggest they will view the 2 hour time limit as reasonable. Granted it is with respect to time rather than distance but the concept is the same.

I hope the penalty for violating this is pretty stiff. I would actually like to have seen this apply to any funeral, memorial service, etc. I don't think they should be able to protest at any funeral or memorial service such as that of Matthew Shepard.

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Response to Swede Atlanta (Reply #4)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 04:58 PM

29. It could go either way

Not being a Constitutional law expert, like our president, I just don't know. As vile as these people are it might be constitutional for them to stand there and spew their bile. On the other hand, if these demonstration have real potential for violence this legislation may be constitutional. On another note, glad to see Olympia Snow going out with a bang. Even thought she's a republican, rather than retire I would like to have seen her change parties. That really would have fucked with the right wing.

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Response to TrogL (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:25 PM

5. THIS is the correct response to those hateful creeps:

http://current.com/blog/93858766_zombies-interrupt-westboro-church-protesters.htm



Zombies interrupt Westboro Church protesters

Not, I repeat NOT the restriction of their right to protest.

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Response to annabanana (Reply #5)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:30 PM

9. Fabulous!

That's exactly how to deal with idiot protesters. Rebut them, mock them, do whatever you have to do to show them up for what they are BUT always respect the right to free expression. It is the foundation for all other liberties.

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Response to annabanana (Reply #5)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 12:39 PM

42. LOL, Zombies!

 

The undead do not have rights, but you can't stop them from assembling. They may have trouble finding brains to eat at a WBC protest though. I love this angle.

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Response to annabanana (Reply #5)

Mon Aug 6, 2012, 12:54 AM

54. Every funeral needs a two-ring circus.

I think parts of Europe handle shit like this fairly well. Maybe a bit heavy-handed, but some fairly good ideas.

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Response to TrogL (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:27 PM

7. Do they actually protest inside the cemeteries?

If so why can't they just be removed from the property? Our do they stand outside the entrance? Does this law bar them from picketing, even outside in public areas?

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Response to TrogL (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:28 PM

8. The court can uphold it as a public safetyissue.

Free speech does not allow you to shout "fire" in a crowded theater or call in a phony bomb threat. These protests are designed to outrage mourners, some of whom might be tempted to act out violently in a way that they would not ordinarily if they were not suffering from extreme grief.

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Response to McCamy Taylor (Reply #8)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:33 PM

11. I am SO tired of that old "shouting fire in a crowded theatre" chestnut

Fortunately, the courts have never been sidetracked by it.

If Nazis and other creeps don't have a right to protest, then no-one has a right to protest.

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Response to Bragi (Reply #11)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 12:42 PM

43. I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

 

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Response to McCamy Taylor (Reply #8)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:37 PM

12. "Some of whom might be tempted to act out violently"

If that were grounds for restricting free speech, then RW hate-speech radio would no longer exist.

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Response to Hugabear (Reply #12)

Mon Aug 6, 2012, 12:57 AM

55. I believe in Canada you aren't allowed to lie or tell falsehoods on the air.

Bliss.

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Response to McCamy Taylor (Reply #8)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:15 PM

35. That's called the "heckler's veto" and it's a pernicious idea.

If the reason the speech creates a danger of violence is that some people intensely dislike the speaker or the message, and if that possibility is a basis for a ban, then people can stifle messages they dislike by threatening to retaliate violently.

Consider that there are plenty of parts of the country where our messages are the unpopular ones. "Sorry, folks, we're not going to issue a permit for your rally in favor of so-called 'reproductive rights' on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Most people around here think abortion is murder and that your rally would be promoting mass infanticide. Therefore, some of the pro-life people here might be tempted to act out violently. Bear in mind that their side has perpetrated violence, up to and including murder. We don't want any of that here so we won't let you hold your rally."

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Response to McCamy Taylor (Reply #8)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 10:20 AM

40. Schenck (the "fire in a crowded theatre" case) was overturned; the test is now

whether the speech would cause "imminent lawless action." You'd have a hard time making that case. They've gone all over the country with their hate protesting funerals and no violence has broken out. The "possibility" of violence exists at any protest; it's not enough to be an exception to the First Amendment.

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Response to TrogL (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:31 PM

10. I have no problem with this particular "suppression of free speech rights".

...how many times have you seen some group opposite (and I'm not even sure what kind of group that would be) protesting at a military funeral?

I don't have a problem with this...isn't it just specific to military funerals?

Ya want to protest the military? Then take it any-other-place, except a cemetery!

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Response to SoapBox (Reply #10)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:49 PM

15. But where does it end?

I do have a problem with it and I'm a military vet...once you allow the politicians to supress the free speech rights of one group...how long will it be before a group you support has its free speech rights supressed?

It's a very slippery slope and by supporting this the slide to tyranny begins!

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Response to atreides1 (Reply #15)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 05:06 PM

30. I agree and I am also a vet ...

If it was just the 300 feet ... I could support it ....
but it is a slippery slope indeed ....

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Response to atreides1 (Reply #15)

Mon Aug 6, 2012, 12:32 AM

50. Where does it end?

Is it cool for them to get bullhorns and protest in front of your house at 3 AM?

Isn't banning that on the grounds that it "disturbs the peace" suppression of free speech?

Or are you arguing that one has the right to sleep without being disturbed by some unwanted asshole, but one doesn't have the right to publicly grieve the loss of a loved one without being disturbed by some unwanted asshole? Why one, but not the other?

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Response to SoapBox (Reply #10)

Sun Aug 5, 2012, 04:09 PM

48. "isn't it just specific to military funerals"

Yes, that's another issue.

Why only military funerals? Are families of military members more deserving of peace at their funerals?

But why only funerals at all? Let's just ban all disruptive speech.

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Response to TrogL (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:57 PM

16. As despicable as these people are

 

this is bad legislation. I truly hate them for what they do to the families of our fallen military, but you cannot muzzle speech that you don't like, that, in my mind, is a slippery slope.
You counter hate speech with positive speech, not trying to ban or restrict it.

I'll wager that the SC will strike it down.

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Response to TrogL (Original post)


Response to TrogL (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 04:24 PM

21. The way to deal with Westboro...

...is to ignore them -- just as you would step around a nut waving a "The World is Ending" sign, rather than challenge his assumptions.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #21)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 04:39 PM

23. the way to deal with them

is to tax them to hell, where they belong, and back.

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Response to SemperEadem (Reply #23)

Mon Aug 6, 2012, 12:46 AM

53. Exactly! The notion of 'tax free' for these political operatives is

obsolete. And many churches are mega-buck mega-corporations. Tax free is ridiculous.

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Response to TrogL (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 04:28 PM

22. good it's about time for some action on this n/t

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Response to TrogL (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 04:44 PM

24. While I understand the reasoning behind this

the scotus will slap it down. Hate speech and its expression, even when it tries the spirits and nerves of those deep in the jaws of grief, is more important in this country than the feelings of those whose loved one has died. Sad, but there it is. One cannot legislate good taste and compassion--that has to come from within the individual first. These assclowns are not cut from that cloth--and their lawyers are extremely persuasive and convincing when standing before scotus arguing their rights to torment the bereaved.

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Response to TrogL (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 04:52 PM

26. Good...

I do not think that what WBC does is an action of Free Speech, Your entitled to say what you want but not where you want. What the WBC does is beyond the lines of acceptability and decency.

With Limbaugh the hutt, you just turn him off and you do not have to hear it, going to your parents/kins funeral and be subjected to the WBC is entirely different because you just cant turn them off.

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Response to and-justice-for-all (Reply #26)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 10:12 AM

38. "Your entitled to say what you want but not where you want"

Yeah, that's what they said about the "Free Speech Zones" under Bush.

"What the WBC does is beyond the lines of acceptability and decency"

Fortunately the First Amendment protects that kind of speech; in fact, it's that very kind of speech that needs protecting.

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Response to NYC Liberal (Reply #38)

Sun Aug 5, 2012, 02:20 PM

46. I diagree...sorry

The shit the WBC does is revolting, if they want to stand on a corner four blocks away from a funeral..fine. But to be in an unavoidable position, as the WBC does, is unacceptable.

"What the WBC does is beyond the lines of acceptability and decency"

I stand by my opinion.

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Response to and-justice-for-all (Reply #46)

Sun Aug 5, 2012, 04:02 PM

47. Yeah well the protection of "revolting", "indecent" speech is precisely why

we have the First Amendment. It's not there to protect uncontroversial speech with which everyone agrees: no amendment is needed to protect that.

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Response to TrogL (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 04:52 PM

27. And the Supreme Court would order the entire Phelps family disbarred

 

and they'll be still appealing their disbarment....

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Response to TrogL (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 04:53 PM

28. I hate Westboro baptist...

But do not care fot this law.

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Response to TrogL (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 05:11 PM

31. I would think the Free Speech Zone law that was upheld by the Extrem Court

would be enough. Why make new and conflicting laws?

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Response to Bandit (Reply #31)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 08:50 PM

34. Wow, I don't know. I thought that law was only for liberals to be excluded, ya know?

Or did it only apply to political events? A funeral isn't usually.

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Response to freshwest (Reply #34)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 09:07 AM

37. The law originated because of Anti-Abortion activist harassing women at

Planned Parenthood and other clinics. It was designed to keep protesters at least three hundred feet away form those entering and exiting the clinics. Bush* took it from there and created the Free Speech Zones for protesters more than a mile away from the scheduled event..It could also be used for funeral protests I would imagine.

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Response to Bandit (Reply #37)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 12:07 PM

41. Oh, okay, I thought Bush started it. I remembered the anti-abortion as being restraining orders.

There are still going to be arguments about this. I bet WBC will take this to court, to get more publicity. But if it lets a few families grieve in peace, it makes sense. Thanks for the history of the practice.

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Response to TrogL (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 06:31 PM

33. FINALLY!

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Response to TrogL (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 10:16 AM

39. I hope this is overturned, which I think it will be.

I'm sorry, but this is too reminiscent of the "Free Speech Zones" under Bush. The First Amendment exists to protect this very kind of speech. Speech that everyone agrees with or likes needs no protection; it's unpopular, unsavory speech that needs protecting. If we don't defend freedom of speech for those with whom we completely disagree, then don't be surprised when the very same precedent is used to infringe our own right to speak freely.

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Response to TrogL (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 02:22 PM

45. But...but...we have to allow freedom of speech NO MATTER WHAT!!

Not really. Which is why this restriction passed. Which is why the Ku Klux Klan is not allowed to adopt sections of highway in most municipalities.

And rightfully so on both.

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Response to TrogL (Original post)

Sun Aug 5, 2012, 06:05 PM

49. Sounds similar to "Free Speech Zones" -

- that were popping up during campaigning in the 2008 election. Their right to protest is preserved and the families right to privacy is also preserved.

I can't stand Westboro but this sounds like reasonable and legal alternative.

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Response to TrogL (Original post)

Mon Aug 6, 2012, 12:43 AM

52. I hate the Phelps clan.

 

But I disagree with taking their right to be assholes away from them. I think this is bad for everyone.

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Response to TrogL (Original post)

Mon Aug 6, 2012, 01:05 AM

56. This is not a "blow" to them

I am amazed that people still don't understand how WBC operates.

They will violate this statute, challenge it in court, and if they win, they will recover their own time in attorney's fees, because that is on the table in civil rights cases.

They live for this kind of thing and, again, I can't believe there are still people who simply do not understand it.

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Response to TrogL (Original post)

Mon Aug 6, 2012, 01:07 AM

57. Next up - make it illegal for OWS to block sidewalks

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