Justice Breyer Suggests “Globalization” Trumps First Amendment
Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer was indecisive when answering a question about whether or not Pastor Terry Jones’ proposed Koran burning was protected by free speech, suggesting that “globalization” now trumps the First Amendment in the eyes of lawmakers.
During an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to promote his book, Breyer was asked by host George Stephanopoulos if Jones’ ability to broadcast his actions in an age of global media poses “a challenge” to the First Amendment.
“[W]hen we spoke several years ago, you talked about how the process of globalization was changing our understanding of the law,” Stephanopoulos began. “When you think about the Internet and when you think about the possibility that, you know, a pastor in Florida with a flock of 30 can threaten to burn the Koran, and that leads to riots and killings in Afghanistan, does that pose a challenge to the First Amendment—to how you interpret it? Does it change the nature of…what we can allow and protect?”
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“Well, in a sense, yes; in a sense, no,” responded Breyer indecisively“People can express their views in debate, no matter how awful those views are — in debate, a conversation, people exchanging ideas. That’s the model so that, in fact, we are better informed when we cast that ballot.”
Breyer went on to say that while the “core values remain,” the application of the First Amendment can change over time.
Breyer compared Jones’ actions to yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre, an action not protected by the First Amendment by legal precedent because it could lead directly to violence and harm.
“And what is the crowded theater today?” Breyer asked. “What is being trampled to death?”
Whether you support or abhor the actions of Pastor Jones, his right to burn a book in public can hardly be compared to yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, which is an action clearly intended to cause mayhem and unrest, whereas Jones’ stated reason for burning the Koran is a form of protest against the ground zero mosque controversy.
CtPatriot: Is Anyone Waking UP???
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