Tuesday, October 16, 2012

8th Circuit Court upholds funeral protest law

Posted By on Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 12:20 PM

The 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld today a Missouri city ordinance aimed at picketing and other forms of protests at funerals. Such protests may be limited, the court said, as to time, place and manner — in this case 300 feet from a service during and for an hour on either side of the service. Arkansas and Congress have passed similar laws.

The U.S. Supreme Court had earlier overruled a damage suit by a father whose military veteran son's funeral was targeted by the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka for one of its many protests at military funerals, loosely built around denunciations of homosexuality. But, the 8th Circuit said, that Supreme Court decision made clear it was for the specific case at which protesters had complied with an even stricter law on funeral limits. It left the door open to some restrictions. The 8th Circuit decided today there was a significant public interest in protecting "the privacy interests of funeral attendees," equivalent to that extended to people in their homes and, by statute, people seeking to enter health facilities.

The full 8th Circuit heard the case and none dissented, though a concurrence from Judge Lavenski Smith of Arkansas noted:

... this court is extending the circumference of what this circuit has previously found constitutes a significant government interest. The uniqueness of the funeral assembly justifies it. We must be concerned, however, that few, if any, other places become walled off to the free expression of ideas due to their potential effect on the hearer.

Tags: , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • In defense of Planned Parenthood and abortion rights

    An op-ed in today's New York Time by Katha Pollitt says what I've been struggling to say about the reaction to the attack on women's reproductive rights launched by means of the undercover videos made by anti-abortion activists.
    • Aug 5, 2015
  • The two cities of Little Rock: East/west, black/white

    The Little Rock City Board illustrated this week a community divided over public schools, another blow to the Little Rock School District and another illustration of the need for ward elections to the board.
    • Mar 23, 2017
  • Matt Campbell files ethics complaint against Dennis Milligan

    Little Rock attorney and blogger Matt Campbell, whose knack for deep research brought down Mark Darr, Mike Maggio and Dexter Suggs, now has his sights trained on another worthy target. Today, he filed a 113-page ethics complaint against state Treasurer Dennis Milligan that includes 14 separate allegations.
    • Aug 20, 2015

Most Shared

Visit Arkansas

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Arkansas is the perfect place to try out this new health trend. Read all about the what, why, where and how here.

Most Viewed

  • Gunman shot by police early today in River Market

    KARK reports that police shot a man in an alley behind Ernie Biggs on Clinton Avenue in the River Market district about 2 a.m. today. His condition was not known, but initial reports said he was in surgery.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation