In recent years, unprotected speech has come into the spotlight. Unprotected speech is any thing said or done that is not considered constitutional despite the first amendment of the constitution, which states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Hot button issues such as flag, cross, and draft card burning, pornography, child pornography, trademarks and copyrights, slander, and false advertising all bring first amendment rights into question. The Supreme Court generally settles this debate as matters of the constitution.
The U.S Supreme Court has historically presented a categorical approach to protected and suppressed speech, beginning with New York Times v Sullivan and the Alien and Sedition Acts. In Miller v California, Chief Justice Burger offered a three-part test for obscenity in reference to pornography and freedom of speech. In a similar manner, for the purpose of Westboro Baptist Church and whether or not its actions constitute unprotected speech...
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...to suicide with a constant stream of god hates you and you are going to hell. In the case of Hustler Magazine v Falwell, there must be malice and the presentation of untruths as facts to constitute emotional damages. In the case of Westboro Baptist Church, there is neither.
Westboro Baptist Church’s remarks and demonstrations may be distasteful, abhorrent, loathsome, and contemptible, but they are in no way unprotected speech, or are they subject to action against them for their speech. They have done no quantifiable injury, nor unlawful act, they have hated. The same protections that are supposed to afford members of the LGBTQ community the ability to exist peacefully provide Westboro Baptist Church the legal protections to spread contempt. All that can be done is wait for time to show them as the vile organization as they are, and a lesson to be learned from.
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