In the middle of every silver lining there is a big black cloud.
The Supreme Court upheld the rights of freedom of speech for the Westboro Baptist Church to say all of the offensive, mean-spirited, hate-mongering things they are prone to say.
That's the silver lining.
Then there's the cloud.
In Wednesday's case, 48 states and dozens of members of Congress filed an amicus brief in support of the Snyders.
Fourty-eight state governments do not understand the right to freedom of speech?Which two did understand this right, I wonder? They deserve to be recognized and honored for this fact.
Dozens of members of Congress?
Plus, we have one (fortunately, only one) Supreme Court Justice himself who does not understand the right to freedom of speech - Justice Samuel Alito, the descenting voice in the 8-1 decision.
[F]ree and open debate is not a license for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case,
Yes, it is. Vicious verbal assault is contant. Praise and condemnation - including vicious condemnation - counts as speech. It is delivering a message. Prohibiting these messages means prohibiting speech because of its content. Alito should know this.
Plus, we have the words of Mr. Snyder who lost the case:
Snyder: Well there's not much we can do about it anymore. When the government won't do anything about it, and the courts give us no remedy, then people are going to start taking matters into their own hands. And believe me someone is going to get hurt. And when the blood starts flowing, let it be on the Supreme Court Justices' hands.
(See: CBS: Dad on Westboro: Blood is on court's hands)
So, "We are going to take it upon ourselves to use violence in response to words and, rather than take responsibility for our own violence, we are going to blame those who did not yield to our threats."
So, once again we see that the right to freedom of speech is not so well loved in America as some people would like to claim. With so many people willing to see such a right shredded, there is reason to temper the celebration with a word of caution.