Justice Breyer: No right to burn Korans in First Amendment?

posted at 12:55 pm on September 14, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

I’m not sure which is more unsettling — the fact that a Supreme Court justice can get the First Amendment so wrong, or that it is so unclear that George Stephanopoulos thought to ask the question.  Until now, I perhaps naïvely thought that everyone understood that the provocateurial pastor in Florida had the right to burn Korans, or any other book he legitimately owned, but that it was a really bad idea for many reasons, most of which Allahpundit argued in his excellent posts on the subject.  Silly me:

Last week we saw a Florida Pastor – with 30 members in his church – threaten to burn Korans which lead to riots and killings in Afghanistan. We also saw Democrats and Republicans alike assume that Pastor Jones had a Constitutional right to burn those Korans.  But Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer told me on “GMA” that he’s not prepared to conclude that — in the internet age — the First Amendment condones Koran burning.

“Holmes said it doesn’t mean you can shout ‘fire’ in a crowded theater,” Breyer told me. “Well, what is it?  Why?  Because people will be trampled to death.  And what is the crowded theater today?  What is the being trampled to death?” …

“It will be answered over time in a series of cases which force people to think carefully.  That’s the virtue of cases,” Breyer told me. “And not just cases. Cases produce briefs, briefs produce thought. Arguments are made. The judges sit back and think. And most importantly, when they decide, they have to write an opinion, and that opinion has to be based on reason.  It isn’t a fake.”

Hopefully, they put more thought into it than Justice Breyer does in this argument.  The “fire in a crowded theater” standard is intended to limit government intrusion on free speech, not enable an expansion of it.  It means that only when speech that will directly and immediately result in a threat to human life in the proximate setting can the government criminalize it — and it has to contain the element of malicious falsehood as well.  After all, no one will prosecute a person who yells “Fire!” in a crowded theater when it’s really on fire, or when the person yelling honestly believes it to be so.

Otherwise, Breyer’s argument would put government in charge of judging the qualitative value of all speech.  Would speech urging an invasion of Pakistan be therefore criminalized, too?  After all, it might cause Pakistanis somewhere to riot and people to die, even if the argument is largely discredited in contemporary American politics.

Furthermore, the Supreme Court has already ruled on burnings as free speech.  In both Texas v Johnson and US v Eichman, the court ruled that free speech trumped any offense and/or concerns about public safety raised by burning the American flag.  In Johnson, the court spoke directly to this issue:

The State’s position … amounts to a claim that an audience that takes serious offense at particular expression is necessarily likely to disturb the peace and that the expression may be prohibited on this basis. Our precedents do not countenance such a presumption. On the contrary, they recognize that a principal “function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or … even stirs people to anger.”

Now, perhaps Breyer foresees a reversal of Johnson and Eichman, but that doesn’t appear to be where he’s leading.  Instead, Breyer seems to want to put the Koran in a separate class for purposes of protest, a dangerous direction that flies in the other First Amendment restriction, the establishment clause regarding religion.

Put simply, Breyer couldn’t have possibly been more wrong in this answer, and one has to wonder just what kind of standard Breyer will apply to future cases of free speech.


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And most importantly, when they decide, they have to write an opinion, and that opinion has to be based on reason.

No, the opinion has to be based on THE LAW!!!!

I am outraged we have a Supreme Court Justice who has said this. We all knew they thought it and practiced it. But I never thought I’d see the day they actually voiced it for all to hear.

Outrageous.

ButterflyDragon on September 14, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Does this guy even bother to read the document he’s supposed to be upholding? How about reading previous Supreme Court decisions? Here’s an easy one for you, replace the word “koran” with the word “bible” or “flag”. Then check on the constitutionality of it.

Tommy_G on September 14, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Breyer: “MLK should be arrested because the KKK will burn stuff”

faraway on September 14, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Supreme Court nominees like this will get the thumbs-up from a Senator Castle.

OhioCoastie on September 14, 2010 at 1:00 PM

What’s next, banning stories about Quran burnings or defacements ?

J_Crater on September 14, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Pissing on a picture of Christ, a Crucufix in a bucket of urine, using th Bible as tiolet paper, NO PROBLEM.

Burning a book of a death cult writen by a murdering mad man, NOT PROTECTED BY THE CONSTITUTION. Might upset the barbarians you know…

Kuffar on September 14, 2010 at 1:00 PM

The enemy within.

RedNewEnglander on September 14, 2010 at 1:01 PM

which lead to riots and killings in Afghanistan

There you go. Our Constitutional rights must be curtailed in the interest of protecting savages on the other side of the world from themselves.

Sing it with me: “We aaaaarrre the wooooooorrrllld…”

Bishop on September 14, 2010 at 1:01 PM

…one has to wonder just what kind of standard Breyer will apply to future cases of free speech.

Actually, we don’t. We can pretty much bank on “what kind of standard Breyer will apply to future cases of free speech”.

Physics Geek on September 14, 2010 at 1:02 PM

Can USSC Justices be impeached?

SnowSun on September 14, 2010 at 1:02 PM

Imagine the outrage from the Left if Scalia had said the exact same thing? Or Roberts, or Alito?

Del Dolemonte on September 14, 2010 at 1:02 PM

Ban everything that offends radical Muslims!
Um, I guess that means we’ve got sharia.

itsnotaboutme on September 14, 2010 at 1:02 PM

So the best way according to Breyer for Christians to get the same level of hands off behavior as Muslims is to start killing people?

sharrukin on September 14, 2010 at 1:03 PM

Breyer couldn’t have possibly been more wrong in this answer, and one has to wonder just what kind of standard Breyer will apply to future cases of free speech.

One could also wonder how an idiot like this ever got confirmed as a justice on the highest court in the land.

AZCoyote on September 14, 2010 at 1:04 PM

So, being crazy-violent gives you a veto.

Terrorists use terror because it works.

Bat Chain Puller on September 14, 2010 at 1:05 PM

You could make the same argument that the Tea Party rallies and their conservative principles could so unhinge moonbats as to make them go postal. So, do you outlaw the Tea Party?

suburbanite on September 14, 2010 at 1:05 PM

We are to submit without a whimper.

itsacookbook on September 14, 2010 at 1:06 PM

One could also wonder how an idiot like this ever got confirmed as a justice on the highest court in the land.

AZCoyote on September 14, 2010 at 1:04 PM

Because post-Bork confirmation hearings are a joke.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 14, 2010 at 1:06 PM

I pray for the health of all conservative SC judges. My Republic is under attack by these libs!
L

letget on September 14, 2010 at 1:07 PM

Put simply, Breyer couldn’t have possibly been more wrong in this answer, and one has to wonder just what kind of standard Breyer will apply to future cases of free speech.

No, one doesn’t have to wonder. I suspect he now has some new compadres who will stand shoulder to shoulder with him on this. On the headline thread, one of our legal scholars took the position he was just musing on a hypothetical. I doubt that.

a capella on September 14, 2010 at 1:07 PM

Remember this is the same idiot who would have us refer to international laws in order to base court decisions on here in the USA.

jake-the-goose on September 14, 2010 at 1:07 PM

He obviously thinks we’re in Europe (or Canada), where speech can be limited on grounds of racism, offense, or harming ‘social cohesion’. And frankly, I wish he was in Europe (or Canada), because then he wouldn’t be here.

Inkblots on September 14, 2010 at 1:07 PM

No, the opinion has to be based on THE LAW!!!!

ButterflyDragon on September 14, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Hard for them to comprehend that fact isn’t it?

WhoU4 on September 14, 2010 at 1:07 PM

“Living, breathing document…” is Progressive-talk for Dead Document.

cartooner on September 14, 2010 at 1:08 PM

So it follows that any speech would be unprotected by the First Amendment if enough people threaten violence because of it.

The question, then, is how many people does it take? Hundreds? Thousands?

Why would anyone seriously consider going down this road.

SlaveDog on September 14, 2010 at 1:08 PM

And most importantly, when they decide, they have to write an opinion, and that opinion has to be based on reason. It isn’t a fake.”

What the heck does this even mean? It makes absolutely no sense to me. Is he saying that judges opinions aren’t fake, or the process isn’t fake? I am either confused or this idiot is jibbering nonsense.

Johnnyreb on September 14, 2010 at 1:09 PM

Under the new SCOTUS (SHARIA Court of the United States) Justice Breyer would be judged by a bearded Ayatollah and the RELIGION OF THE SWORD OF PEACE would be rendered (unless he converted of course).

Deja Vu it’s so like Medieval Crusade all over again.—Meghan McCain

PappyD61 on September 14, 2010 at 1:09 PM

So, does this mean that Free Speech is OK as longs as no one is prone to riot? So, if I am simply offended by flag (Koran) burning, and do not riot, flag (Koran) burning is OK. But, if I riot at the sight of a flag (Koran) being desecrated, then the Constitution would not protect that speech? That thinking leads to more violence and not less. Breyer is either an idiot or a fool. More likely he is a foolish idiot.

EliTheBean on September 14, 2010 at 1:09 PM

O/T: Scooter speaking to our schoochildren right now. It’s live on CNN.

kingsjester on September 14, 2010 at 1:10 PM

So the best way according to Breyer for Christians to get the same level of hands off behavior as Muslims is to start killing people?

sharrukin on September 14, 2010 at 1:03 PM

What does rewarding bad behavior create?

a capella on September 14, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Well,no wonder,

Appointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1994, and known for his pragmatic approach to constitutional law, Breyer is generally associated with the more liberal side of the Court.[1]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Breyer

======================================================

Just think,isn’t it comforting to know,that Elana Kagan,
the Social Justice “Progressive Activist” is on the SCO
TUS,to interpret,and reinterpert American Law!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on September 14, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Another reason to not get sucked into international thinking on law. Euro opinions and all as case studies.

tomg51 on September 14, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Can USSC Justices be impeached?

SnowSun on September 14, 2010 at 1:02 PM

Yes, and it had happened once. Justice Samuel Chase (a signer of the Declaration of Independence) was impeached by President Jefferson in 1804. However in 1805 the Senate voted to acquit him and he continued in the court. So it is possible. But is it likely, who knows.

Tommy_G on September 14, 2010 at 1:11 PM

Hollywood should be banned for promoting soft-porn movies. Islamists riot over this too.

That’s a good start.

faraway on September 14, 2010 at 1:11 PM

O/T: Scooter speaking to our schoochildren right now. It’s live on CNN.

kingsjester on September 14, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Will there be singing?

a capella on September 14, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Justice Brier explicitly states that Islam is a violent religion by his crowded theater analogy with burning the Quran.

Aside from the implications of this asinine exclusion of the 1A would have on government power, what other Constitutional rights does Justice Brier have similar exclusions with?

Weebork on September 14, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Muslims terrify lefties. They will do anything to appease them.

NeoKong on September 14, 2010 at 1:12 PM

pastor Jones should have gone for it!

abobo on September 14, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Brier = Breyer

Weebork on September 14, 2010 at 1:12 PM

a capella on September 14, 2010 at 1:12 PM

mm mmm mmmm…I don’t know.

kingsjester on September 14, 2010 at 1:13 PM

What does rewarding bad behavior create?

a capella on September 14, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Yeah, he’s a real genius. Unfortunately rewarding bad behavior is getting more and more common.

sharrukin on September 14, 2010 at 1:13 PM

You missed Breyer’s most critical statement, Ed, the one that should be read into the record at his impeachment hearings:

“It will be answered over time in a series of cases which force people to think carefully.

It is not, never has been, never will be, the duty of any branch of our government to “force people to think carefully.”

Since when does a court arrogate to itself the right to compel people to think a certain way? This is straight-out totalitarian crap.

MrScribbler on September 14, 2010 at 1:13 PM

I thought that Supreme Court Justices, as with Presidents and Military Officers, swore an oath to the U.S. Constitution, not to the Koran. Silly me.

Luka on September 14, 2010 at 1:14 PM

Political Cartoons will be outlawed.

Atleast Ramirez’s will.

portlandon on September 14, 2010 at 1:15 PM

“Holmes said it doesn’t mean you can shout ‘fire’ in a crowded theater,” Breyer told me. “Well, what is it? Why? Because people will be trampled to death. And what is the crowded theater today? What is the being trampled to death?”

How the heck can a Supreme Court Justice get this quote wrong. Holmes said you can’t falsely shout fire in a crowded theater. If the theater actually is on fire, or you reasonably believe it is, then you can shout “fire.”

And to ban Koran burning because it might cause someone to engage in violence would just lead to the heckler’s veto. Burn the flag, I keel you. Put the cross in a jar of urine, I keel you. Keep Jersey Shore on tv, I keel you.

rbj on September 14, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Under the new SCOTUS (SHARIA Court of the United States)

PappyD61 on September 14, 2010 at 1:09 PM

PappyD61:Oh thats good,me likey,Sharia SCOTUS!:)

canopfor on September 14, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Justice Dhimmi.

Extrafishy on September 14, 2010 at 1:16 PM

Hey Imam Breyer, what are you thinking?

rjoco1 on September 14, 2010 at 1:17 PM

kowtowing to the enemy once again….sharia law on the way?

cmsinaz on September 14, 2010 at 1:17 PM

Appointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1994, and known for his pragmatic approach to constitutional law, Breyer is generally associated with the more liberal side of the Court.[1]
canopfor on September 14, 2010 at 1:10 PM

I believe our present GOP Senate minority leader gave him an aye vote.

a capella on September 14, 2010 at 1:17 PM

En Fuego!

Christien on September 14, 2010 at 1:17 PM

So the best way according to Breyer for Christians to get the same level of hands off behavior as Muslims is to start killing people?

sharrukin on September 14, 2010 at 1:03 PM

Yes. But doing so will kill Christianity.

Esthier on September 14, 2010 at 1:18 PM

He’s got Kagan in his corner.

ornery_independent on September 14, 2010 at 1:18 PM

No, Mr. Breyer–he does have the “right” to burn a Koran, burn a flag, or burn the Bible or whatever—the question is “should he?”

It is always in the exercising of a right where the issues of right and wrong arise. The easy question is the one whether one has the right, or not, to do something. The harder one is where, when and how they do it that determines the appropriateness of the behavior.

ted c on September 14, 2010 at 1:19 PM

And so it begins , The ” peaceful religion of “Islam ” is gaining enough numbers in this country that soon it will be like London.
Police will politely ask them not to burn and loot and pander to stop their protests
Where have these ” upholders of rights ” been ?

May 5th when Mexicans burned the American Flag they said nothing .

If an Aethist wanted to burn the Bible then you know he would have the full support and police protection and the ACLU would threaten to sue every last person in America if anyone even HINTED the burning would be stopped .
What about the ” TOLERANT ” Muslims who burn Bibles is the great sand box ? Do we hear Andrea Mitchell denouncing them ?
WAKE UP AMERICA
If you fail to question and denounce the IDIOTS taking over our country we will only be faced with an attempt to overthrow the government by force or live like SERFS

Winning the election may be too little too late .
Call your local representatives and remind them what this country is about !

ELMO Q on September 14, 2010 at 1:19 PM

If Burning the Koran is ruled to be the equivalent of “Shouting fire in a crowded theater”, presumably followed by other banned “Insults to Islam and/or the Prophet, then we might as well burn our own U.S. Constitution as it has been replaced with Islamic Supremacy and Shariah. This vile excuse for a man should be impeached.

Luka on September 14, 2010 at 1:19 PM

What the heck does this even mean? It makes absolutely no sense to me. Is he saying that judges opinions aren’t fake, or the process isn’t fake? I am either confused or this idiot is jibbering nonsense.

Johnnyreb on September 14, 2010 at 1:09 PM

He’s saying you can sidestep the Constitution as long as you can justify it with a reasoned argument.

ButterflyDragon on September 14, 2010 at 1:19 PM

He’s got Kagan in his corner.

ornery_independent on September 14, 2010 at 1:18 PM

i feel better now
/

cmsinaz on September 14, 2010 at 1:20 PM

Burning the Koran is equivalent to burning the American Flag from a Constitutional standpoint. Both objects represent a group of people — the American Flag equally to the Koran. It’s only when religion is factored in that the two become unequal (the American Flag is not the product of a religion), and our Constitution says that the state may not set any religion to be superior to its nonreligious counterpart. So, if the court has ruled that there is a Constitutional right of expression in a person burning their (admittedly nonreligious) American Flag in protest, then there must also be an equal right for another person to burn their religious books in protest.

But we know that the Supreme Court Justices get it wrong all the time — after all, we “Roe v. Wade” hung around our necks as an albatross — a ruling, ignoring the science even on the day of judgement, that gives individuals the right to kill their children. We’ve had rulings rooted in modern European law rather than our own Constitution. Justice Breyer’s opinion in this matter does not surprise me — I’m just hoping that a majority do not agree with him should this come before the Court.

Mind you now — I’m of the opinion that one should burn neither the American Flag nor any book.

unclesmrgol on September 14, 2010 at 1:20 PM

Yes. But doing so will kill Christianity.

Esthier on September 14, 2010 at 1:18 PM

Not really. The Crusades and the wars of religion didn’t destroy Christianity so I don’t see why another round would.

I am not a Christian in any case, but I don’t see that they have to be extra special angels of compassion.

Christianity isn’t a pacifist faith.

sharrukin on September 14, 2010 at 1:21 PM

So the Supremes could block the publication of a cartoon? We know these nut jobs did riot because of cartoons, so Breyer has a real world example he could cite.

But hey, as Lindsey Graham says, elections have consequences and justices like this are who Obama has cited has good examples of who he will nominate. The root problem is not that Breyer. It’s that people like Graham, who should stop the Beyers and Kagans from getting on the Supreme Court, instead use Orwellian logic to justify their cowardly votes to confirm.

InterestedObserver on September 14, 2010 at 1:21 PM

AC/DC no longer allowed to play “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)” live in the U.S.

Fire!

Christien on September 14, 2010 at 1:21 PM

But the riots already happened and people lost their lives and Jones never burnt anything. He just mentioned that he would. Does mentioning the burning of a Koran not protected?
And how does the MSM fit into this? If it wasn’t for their involvement in “getting the word out”, no one would know about Terry Jones.

Electrongod on September 14, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Only Bibles are not covered by the First Amendment.

tarpon on September 14, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Yes. But doing so will kill Christianity.

Esthier on September 14, 2010 at 1:18 PM

Don’t worry Esthier, us Jews will take care of it.

YHWH AKBAR!!

Good Solid B-Plus on September 14, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Breyer is getting a little senile.

MCGIRV on September 14, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Thinking of that movie ‘Bruce’ or whatever it was, where God gave Bruce his powers for a while. If I was ‘Bruce’ I would turn Breyer into an Islamic woman in say Saudi Arabia, or better yet Afghanistan, and see how he likes it. What a putz!

Luka on September 14, 2010 at 1:24 PM

The fire-blah-blah-theater analogy is inapt here — as usual. It tends to be deployed as a catch-all response to anything someone says that someone else doesn’t like. Mark Steyn had some fun things to say about it when his free speech rights were under attack in Canada. His point was that it’s okay to shout “fire” if the theater actually is burning — i.e. that truth is a defense.

Had Breyer cited the “fighting words” limitation on free speech (see Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire), he might have been on to something. Not sure what Quran-burning accomplishes besides riling up people for no good purpose.

Rather disheartening that it has been used this way by a SCOTUS Justice, however.

valiantdust on September 14, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Liberal America – the only place from which Islam can get significant submission with less than 10 battles.

steveegg on September 14, 2010 at 1:25 PM

Should eating cows be forbidden because some Hindus think they’re sacred?

If not, why not? By saying,

“And what is the crowded theater today? What is the being trampled to death?” …

referring to the violent reaction of a certain group of people, is he drawing a distinction between religion? What of “Piss Christ” or Mary covered in dung? Establishment of religion indeed.

Matticus Finch on September 14, 2010 at 1:25 PM

How the heck can a Supreme Court Justice get this quote wrong. Holmes said you can’t falsely shout fire in a crowded theater. If the theater actually is on fire, or you reasonably believe it is, then you can shout “fire.”

rbj on September 14, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Good point. In some fashion, liberals would like to set up a system whereby prvocation or thought crimes, as determined by the courts, should eventually prevail, despite precedent.

a capella on September 14, 2010 at 1:25 PM

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

Well, jihadis commit terrorist acts because we merely exist, so there goes “Life.” Forget freedom of speech, we don’t have the freedom to BE.

Christien on September 14, 2010 at 1:25 PM

Not really. The Crusades and the wars of religion didn’t destroy Christianity so I don’t see why another round would.

I am not a Christian in any case, but I don’t see that they have to be extra special angels of compassion.

Christianity isn’t a pacifist faith.

sharrukin on September 14, 2010 at 1:21 PM

So you wouldn’t consider Christianity destroyed if it mimicked the most radical of Muslims? It would go completely counter to its own message, and by the logic of many here would no longer be a religion worth protecting.

Esthier on September 14, 2010 at 1:25 PM

‘nother good post and good comments.
I find myself being seduced by reasonable argument that there has to be limits to free speech to avoid unnecessary provocation.

The news story about the Long Island homeowner being arrested because he discharged an AK-47 to stall an attack on himself and his family by a growing mob of gang members falls into the same category.

The limits are all one sided, always falling on the side of freedom, never the actions or threatened actions of those who would do us harm.

Skandia Recluse on September 14, 2010 at 1:26 PM

Deus Vult

Kuffar on September 14, 2010 at 1:26 PM

Can USSC Justices be impeached?

SnowSun on September 14, 2010 at 1:02 PM

Yes, and it had happened once. Justice Samuel Chase (a signer of the Declaration of Independence) was impeached by President Jefferson in 1804. However in 1805 the Senate voted to acquit him and he continued in the court. So it is possible. But is it likely, who knows.

Tommy_G on September 14, 2010 at 1:11 PM

Thanks for the glimmer of hope Tommy_G!
And if that don’t work… pack the court with “un-liberal” Justices in 2012! (Meaning add 2 or 4 more, as FDR threatened to do).

SnowSun on September 14, 2010 at 1:26 PM

How many groups in this country and the world will impose their will on the people through threats and violence?

Bizarro world, and not just the Muslims. Want to get your way? Threaten to cause trouble. It will get worse, thanks to nonsense such as this. Justice Breyer (and others) has (have) done more to endanger people than this pastor ever did.

reaganaut on September 14, 2010 at 1:26 PM

Since when does a court arrogate to itself the right to compel people to think a certain way? This is straight-out totalitarian crap.

MrScribbler on September 14, 2010 at 1:13 PM

I think we expect people who bring cases before the Supreme Court to think carefully, and we expect the Justices who will decide those cases to also think carefully. A case before the Supreme Court must turn upon some Constitutional question.

I fully agree with Justice Breyer’s qualifying statements further definining “think carefully”:

Cases produce briefs, briefs produce thought. Arguments are made. The judges sit back and think. And most importantly, when they decide, they have to write an opinion, and that opinion has to be based on reason. It isn’t a fake.

Perhaps Justice Breyer has not thought this thing through carefully — in fact, I’m certain of it. But he’s right — sooner or later, he will.

unclesmrgol on September 14, 2010 at 1:26 PM

Christianity isn’t a pacifist faith.

sharrukin on September 14, 2010 at 1:21 PM

Christianity is.

It’s followers aren’t.

A few centuries in the school of hard knocks took care of that.

Dark-Star on September 14, 2010 at 1:27 PM

Instead, Breyer seems to want to put the Koran in a separate class for purposes of protest, a dangerous direction that flies in the other First Amendment restriction, the establishment clause regarding religion.

We are already living in a de-facto state of sharia law, with most media outlets and the government voluntarily kowtowing to islamic sensibilities, we might as well codify it, right?

Rebar on September 14, 2010 at 1:27 PM

Don’t worry Esthier, us Jews will take care of it.

YHWH AKBAR!!

Good Solid B-Plus on September 14, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Heh.

Esthier on September 14, 2010 at 1:28 PM

So can we burn a Koran if it’s wrapped in an American flag?

Mr. D on September 14, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Articles of Impeachment is the only solution to this Justice’s judicial dishonesty and dhimminitude.

thmsmgnm on September 14, 2010 at 1:29 PM

So you wouldn’t consider Christianity destroyed if it mimicked the most radical of Muslims?

Esthier on September 14, 2010 at 1:25 PM

It doesn’t have to mimic Islam to stand up for itself. There was a time when Christians actually did that and they didn’t behave like Muslims then either.

sharrukin on September 14, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Pastor Jones only thought about yelling fire.

Hate thought, you know.

faraway on September 14, 2010 at 1:30 PM

I figured there would be a big post on this.

(sigh)

crr6 on September 14, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Christianity is.

It’s followers aren’t.

A few centuries in the school of hard knocks took care of that.

Dark-Star on September 14, 2010 at 1:27 PM

No, sharrukin is right. Christianity isn’t about pacifism. God is unchanging, that much is clear even in the New Testament. The same God that tells us to turn the other cheek also told Israel to invade. I realize that looks like a contradiction, but it only is when taking out of context.

Esthier on September 14, 2010 at 1:31 PM

sharrukin on September 14, 2010 at 1:21 PM

The big difference is that most so-called religious wars were not about religion at all. They were about conquest, gaining wealth, resources, land, strategic locations, etc… The fact that savvy leaders used religion as a pretext to recruit an army is completely different to what we are facing with Islam today.

The fact that so many people miss this point is disappointing.

reaganaut on September 14, 2010 at 1:31 PM

referring to the violent reaction of a certain group of people, is he drawing a distinction between religion? What of “Piss Christ” or Mary covered in dung? Establishment of religion indeed.

Matticus Finch on September 14, 2010 at 1:25 PM

These in and of themselves are protected modes of speech. What was particularly egregious was that they were done using Government funding — in essence, the Government was funding the operations of a religion which opposed crucifixes or the adoration of the Blessed Virgin. If the Government sponsored the burning of Korans, who would defend the burner? Certainly not I.

unclesmrgol on September 14, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Post this to any of your friends who might entertain thoughts of ever voting for a Democrat. Vote for a Democrat President, and this is the kind of Justices you will get on the Supreme Court.

Actually, Breyer is the very best you could hope for. There are others far worse.

Haiku Guy on September 14, 2010 at 1:31 PM

canopfor on September 14, 2010 at 1:10 PM
============================================
I believe our present GOP Senate minority leader gave him an aye vote.

a capella on September 14, 2010 at 1:17 PM

a capella:Took a bit of intel work,but heres hoe they
voted,on confirming Breyer!
========================================================
Question: On the Nomination (Nomination – Stephen G. Breyer )

Stephen G. Breyer, of Massachusetts, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=103&session=2&vote=00242

canopfor on September 14, 2010 at 1:32 PM

The main problem, for me, with his comments is that he’s extending the “crowded theater” to include the entire world. That is, if radical Muslims in Afghanistan or Iran or Pakistan threaten violence, that those threats should be considered when the Court decides if there’s a constitutional right to burn a Koran (or anything else for that matter).

That can’t be so.

We’re all familiar with the concept of a “heckler’s veto”. This seems to be promoting the concept of a “worldwide extremist veto.”

No.

SteveMG on September 14, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Put simply, Breyer couldn’t have possibly been more wrong in this answer, and one has to wonder just what kind of standard Breyer will apply to future cases of free speech.

…No we should not have to wonder.
A Supreme court justice who displays this kind of revisionism and activism should be asked to step down.

This is an activist judge who wants to manipulate the law in an effort to justify a preconceived opinion.

I would love to see liberals justify how burning the Koran is not covered by free speech but vandalizing our military recruitment centers and calling our Soldiers “murderers,war criminals,and child predators” is “Patriotic dissent”.

The anti-war movement financed and gave support to our enemies during a time of war.It is well documented during Vietnam and the Iraq war how important the anti-war movement emboldened the enemy and gave it hope we would quit.
The Viet Cong have a museum that honors the American anti-war movement with Jane Fonda and John Kerry front and center.
Code Pink sent tens of thousands of dollars to insurgents in Fallujah.
Al-qaeda and Shia milita’s stated time and again that we would quit and used the anti-war movement as proof of that.

All of this put our Soldier’s lives at an increased risk
and gave hope to the enemy to keep fighting.

So tell us activist judge….how many people do Americans have to kill to make burning the American flag like “yelling fire in a theater”.

Baxter Greene on September 14, 2010 at 1:32 PM

I am worried about this administration’s thuggery to get the pastor to change his plans based on the government’s opinion that his protest could possibly cause deaths in another country.

What’s next a Tea Party rally?

HellCat on September 14, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Christianity isn’t a pacifist faith.

sharrukin on September 14, 2010 at 1:21 PM

Christianity is.

It’s followers aren’t.

A few centuries in the school of hard knocks took care of that.

Dark-Star on September 14, 2010 at 1:27 PM

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

sharrukin on September 14, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Ugh,thats should be how,sorry,I have nuts,sl*ts,and hoes,
and Delaware on my mind!

canopfor on September 14, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Now Ed, I am sure Justice Breyer would be just as solicitous in protecting the Bible…Oh, wait a minute…Christians don’t make a practice of beheading “infidels”. Never mind.

tgharris on September 14, 2010 at 1:33 PM

It doesn’t have to mimic Islam to stand up for itself. There was a time when Christians actually did that and they didn’t behave like Muslims then either.

sharrukin on September 14, 2010 at 1:30 PM

No, but you were describing a scenario where Christians are treated the same by adopting the worst of Muslims’ tactics. That’s what I’m saying would kill Christianity.

Esthier on September 14, 2010 at 1:34 PM

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