Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Chill In The Air

Yesterday, the SCOTUS made one of the single biggest boneheaded decisions, from a court full of them (Citizens United, anyone?):

The Westboro Baptist church were sued for emotional distress by the family of Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, after members of the church picketed his funeral with signs that read: "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "You're Going to Hell".

But the US Supreme Court ruled 8-1 against the family and said that the church was entitled to protest under the Constitution's First Amendment, the right to free speech.

In those two paragraphs are all you need to know to understand the dire predicament the right to privacy is facing in the United States with the Roberts court. There can be no more private moment in a person's life than the moment at which the friends and family gather together to say goodbye, to mourn the loss of a human life.

Yes, free speech is important and should be encouraged at all times, but the right of an American to be free to be where he wants, to do what he wants (within the boundaries of the law) and to be left alone trumps the sole right to shout obscenities, 3 to 1.

This ruling has implications beyond that of some rude speech by evil people. Privacy and the right to it is on shaky legal ground in a strict constuctionist court. See, it's not in the original Constitution per se. Yes, freedom from undue search and seizure, and stuff like that, all point to a Constitutional basis for a right to privacy, but the right is not delineated in the document, and according to the children on the right who act like demented fifth grade crossing guards, it cannot possibly exist.

This means sodomy laws can and will be enforced. Abortion can and will be under dire assault nationwide. It means fifty separate lawsuits defining what consenting adults may or may not do behind closed doors (the case that brought about the implied right to privacy, Griswold v. Connecticut, was about the use of contraception...contraception! a married couple).

The Roberts court has opened the barn door on all the horses now, guaranteeing itself a long run as arbiter of America's moral code.