Last week we saw a Florida Pastor – with 30 members in his church – threaten to burn Korans which lead to riots and killings in Afghanistan. We also saw Democrats and Republicans alike assume that Pastor Jones had a Constitutional right to burn those Korans. But Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer told me on "GMA" that he's not prepared to conclude that -- in the internet age -- the First Amendment condones Koran burning.Does this mean that under the guise of public safety Breyer would curtail free speech that might be considered offensive to Islam? Would he also extend that protection to other religions though the average Presbyterian, Buddhist and Hindu are not so easily incited? Perhaps Breyer envisions a special designation for Muslims that exempts them from all criticism in any form while allowing the rest of us to be pissed off without regard to our "feelings" and "sensitivities".
“Holmes said it doesn’t mean you can shout 'fire' in a crowded theater,” Breyer told me. “Well, what is it? Why? Because people will be trampled to death. And what is the crowded theater today? What is the being trampled to death?”
What complete hogwash! I may insult gays, women, blacks, Inuits and yes, Muslims, as I see fit. My Founding Fathers gave me that right. If I exercise my right in an antisocial or irresponsible manner there will be consequences. People may choose not to associate with me or they may, egads, insult me back. But in any case, that is between me and my peers and no business of the justice system.
Breyer is not proposing justice. He is suggesting that he cost of peace is capitulation and a willingness to forgo our most basic rights. Scary talk coming from a Supreme Court justice.