More 1st amendment limits | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

More 1st amendment limits

Posted By on Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Rep. Randy Stewart made his move in committee today to make a little political hay by extending from 150 feet to 300 feet the statutory prohibition on demonstrations during funerals. His bill would also bar free speech 30 minutes before or after a funeral. This is part of the nationwide overreaction to a handful of religious extremists from Kansas who've used funerals, often of service people, to advance their strange political agenda.

What part of the First Amendment doesn't gun nut Randy Stewart not understand? Rep. John Edwards, a lawyer, also joined in the process to make the bill less objectionable, but questions linger. He said the restrictions in the proposal would pass muster under some federal appellate rulings, but noted the U.S. Supreme Court hasn't definitively ruled on a variety of anti-funeral-protest laws.

The bill specifically allows free speech demonstrations of which a family approves, but not those that they don't approve. Unabridged free speech that is not. The patriotic volunteer motorcycle riders who've worked hard and effectively to limit the emotional impact of the Kansas demonstrators at funerals is an appropriate exercise of assembly and speech rights to counter the crackpots with none of the problematic government involvement.

Rep. John Walker, a voice of reason on the Judiciary Committee, said he didn't like funeral protests, but he said the standard of regulating protests should not be whether or not somebody didn't like them. A 300-foot restriction, Walker said, effectively limits a person's right to advance his or her cause. "Why do we always have to do things that are unnecessary and sometimes make mountains out of mole hills?" Walker asked.

Edwards said he'd struggled with Walker's questions, but concluded funerals were a unique issue.

The bill received a favorable recommendation and no audible "no" votes were heard.

Tags: , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (12)

Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Anybody around?

    The Thanksgiving open line.
    • Nov 23, 2017
  • Turkeys rescued in Yellville enjoy their Thanksgiving

    Farm Sanctuary, an animal protection organization, sends word that four turkeys rescued from the Yellville Turkey Trot after the annual drops from buildings and an airplane will enjoy Thanksgiving in friendlier places
    • Nov 23, 2017
  • The New Orleans charter school 'miracle'? It's a ruse

    The New Orleans Tribune has a devastating piece of editorial commentary, based on local reporting and test scores, that lays bare the depiction of the charterization of New Orleans public schools 12 years ago as a miracle of the "reform" movement.
    • Nov 23, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Judge anticipates punishment of lawyers in Fort Smith class action case

    Federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith issued a 32-page ruling yesterday indicating he contemplates punishment of 16 lawyers who moved a class action lawsuit against an insurance company out of his court to a state court in Polk County after a settlement had been worked out.
    • Apr 15, 2016
  • Baseball fans have a new place to stay

    If you missed out on Razorback baseball home games this year because you couldn’t find a great place to stay, your problem is now solved: Staybridge Suites of Fayetteville is now fully renovated and located directly across from Baum Stadium, with free parking for hotel guests.
    • May 22, 2017
  • Kenneth Starr: A comment from Betsey Wright

    Betsey Wright, former President Bill Clinton's chief of staff when he was Arkansas governor, responds bitterly to a New York Times article today quoting Whitewater Prosecutor Kenneth Starr's warm words about Clinton. She can't forget the lives Starr ruined in Arkansas.
    • May 24, 2016

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Lee's lawyer writes about executed man's last hours

    • I strongly advice you hire a legitimate professional private investigator/hacker. You can contact ( PRIVATEJOSH3@GMAIL.COM…

    • on November 23, 2017
  • Re: Anybody around?

    • Goof....did you enjoy your time living and working in NYC? It sounds like you were…

    • on November 23, 2017
  • Re: Anybody around?

    • Great story mountaingirl. I spent a lot of time at that sight in the 80s…

    • on November 23, 2017



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