Eh…..I’m not really sure. To be fair to Justice Breyer he gives a non-answer to George Stephanopoulos’s question, basically answering with a question, but his mention of Holmes is unsettling and the whole reason for this post. Maybe not to attack Breyer as much as to attack those who say burning Korans shouldn’t be protected.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, when we spoke several years ago, you talked about how the process of globalization was changing our understanding of the law. When you think about the internet and when you think about the possibility that, you know, a pastor in Florida with a flock of 30, can threaten to burn the Koran and that leads to riots and killings in Afghanistan, does that pose a challenge to the First Amendment, to how you interpret it? Does it change the nature of what we can allow and protect?
BREYER: Well, in a sense, yes. In a sense, no. People can express their views in debate. No matter how awful those views are. In debate. A conversation. People exchanging ideas. That’s the model. So that, in fact, we are better informed when we cast that ballot. Those core values remain. How they apply can-
STEPHANOPOULOS: The conversation is now global.
BREYER: Indeed. And you can say, with the internet, you can say this. Holmes said, it doesn’t mean you can shout fire in a crowded theater. Well, what is it? Why? Well people will be trampled to death. What is the crowded theater today? What is-
STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s exactly my question.
BREYER: Yes. Well, perhaps that will be answered by- if it’s answered, by our court. It will be answered over time, in a series of cases, which force people to think carefully. That’s the virtue of cases.
I understand that the Pastor’s decision to do this book burning is in bad taste but for anyone to actually suggest that this act is akin to yelling fire in a building is ludicrous. One act is deliberately done to cause understandable panic and put people’s lives in imminent danger due to this panic. Would anyone consider pulling a fire alarm in a building a form of speech or expression covered by the 1st Amendment?
The other act, the book burning, is definitely a form of speech and expression…as much as a flag burning is. Oh sure, it will piss Muslims off, and that could cause some nuts to commit violence, but there is no imminent danger, no panic.
Another point by Jay Tea:
…Justice Breyer omits an even more significant point: the responses that he views as entirely predictable and understandable are in itself a violation of the law.
Arson. Vandalism. Assault. Disorderly conduct. Rioting. Inciting a riot. Attempted murder. Murder.
It’s a form of blaming the victim. “Yes, you didn’t break any laws when you burned that Koran. But you still had it coming. You pretty much deserved what will happen to you. We might try to protect you, but don’t count on it.”
I thought we were past that.
I guess not.
It’s just an absurd notion to think that the standard for when our government can prohibit speech and forms of expression is if it might cause people to act violently and illegally.
The guy shouldn’t of planned this book burning but he has every right to do it. Just as much as the liberal does to burn our flag.
I despise both acts but will defend their right to do it with every single breath.