At a time in our history when rights and freedoms are getting renewed attention, the First Amendment still struggles for support, mostly because its power comes from the degree to which the government bestows it.
Today, the Supreme Court turned down an appeal from David Paul Hammer, an inmate on the federal government’s death row in Terre Haute, Ind, who wants to speak to reporters before he’s executed.
Why doesn’t the federal government allow death row inmates to speak to reporters? Because of this:
Twenty-three news organizations supported Mr. Hammer’s appeal, though it’s unlikely many of them are very interested in talking to him specifically.
While it rejected the claim by the inmate that he has a right to talk to reporters, the Supreme Court agreed to decide whether people can picket outside the funerals of soldiers, and shout some of the ugliest epithets you can imagine.
ScotusBlog reports on the case of orders against the Rev. Fred Phelps:
The Rev. Phelps’ church preaches a strongly anti-gay message, contending that God hates America because it tolerates homosexuality, particularly in the military services. The church also spreads its views through an online site, www.godhatesfags.com. When the (Marine Lance Corporal Matthew A.) Snyder funeral occurred, the Rev. Phelps, two of his daughters and four grandchildren staged a protest nearby. They carried signs with such messages as “God Hates the USA,” “America is doomed,” “Matt in hell,” “Semper fi fags,” and “Thank God for dead soldiers.” The demonstration violate no local laws, and was kept at police orders a distance from the church. After the funeral, the Rev. Phelps continued his protest over the Snyder funeral on his church’s website, accusing the Snyder family of having taught their son irreligious beliefs.