**Written by Doug Powers
Is burning the Koran something protected by the First Amendment? Supreme Court Justice Breyer told George Stephanopoulos that it might not be, claiming it could be akin to yelling “fire” in a crowded theater — which to me is a bogus argument, provided the book wasn’t set ablaze in a crowded theater.
From ABC News:
Last week President Obama told me that Pastor Jones could be cited for public burning – but that was “the extent of the laws that we have available to us.” Rep. John Boehner said on “GMA” that “just because you have a right to do something in America does not mean it is the right thing to do.”
For Breyer, that right is not a foregone conclusion.
“It will be answered over time in a series of cases which force people to think carefully. That’s the virtue of cases,” Breyer told me. “And not just cases. Cases produce briefs, briefs produce thought. Arguments are made. The judges sit back and think. And most importantly, when they decide, they have to write an opinion, and that opinion has to be based on reason. It isn’t a fake.”
I’m not a lawyer, but I thought a SCOTUS justice’s opinion was supposed to be based on the Constitution and not his or her subjective definition of “reason.”
I highly doubt Breyer would have given the free speech question nearly as much thought if Steffy would have said “Bible” or “flag” instead of “Koran.” Read Breyer’s entire statement and shudder at what appears to be his opinion that the age of the internet will invariably set limits on our constitutional rights. Damn that Al Gore.
Just a little extra motivation heading into the next couple of election cycles — unless someday a few robed figures decide that saying “election” is as dangerous as yelling “fire” in a crowded theater.
**Written by Doug Powers
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