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Military Funeral Demonstrations

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Tuesday, Congress passed H.R. 1627, with the ungainly title of Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012.  Among its provisions is a prohibition against a demonstration within 300 feet of a cemetery within the period 2 hours before and after the funeral of "a member or former member of the Armed Forces" which "disturbs or tends to disturb the peace or good order of such funeral."

The bill is a reaction to the bizarre and despicable practice of the Westboro Baptist Church demonstrating at the funerals of service members, claiming that their deaths are God's retribution against America for tolerance of homosexuality.  A common law tort judgment was reversed by the Supreme Court last year in Snyder v. Phelps.  The Court expressly refrained from deciding whether statutory "time, place, and manner" restrictions would be constitutional, however.  (See pp. 10-11 of the slip opinion.)

Will the Supreme Court uphold this law?  (Assuming, of course, the President doesn't veto it.)  Hard to say.  Given the Court's astonishing and appalling creation of a constitutional right to lie about receiving a medal of valor in United States v. Alvarez, nothing is certain.

Update:  The President signed the bill.  It is Public Law 112-154.

2 Comments

On a tangentially related note, I loved this response to a recent Westboro "protest" at Joint Base Lewis McChord:

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/07/westboro-church-protesters-confronted-by-zombies/

Hurray for the zombies!

:: claiming that their deaths are God's retribution against America for tolerance of homosexuality. ::

no, Barney Frank is.

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