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Nuisance vs. Free Speech. Citizen vs. Protester

The U.S. Supreme Court recently denied cert for a Colorado nuisance case in Saint John’s Church in the Wilderness v. Scott. Its important because the case pits a group of citizens’ (a church group) rights to enjoy their freedoms on their property versus another group’s rights of free speech.

The Church was conducting services on its grounds on Palm Sunday. A group of organized protesters across the street was yelling at them about homosexuality and abortion.  The protesters held up graphic posters for the whole church to see (gruesome and gory depictions). That’s when the church successfully sued in the Colorado state court, then again successfully in the Colorado court of appeals.  That’s where the Supreme Court comes into play.  They declined to hear the case (denied cert is the technical term). By doing so, we can conclude that the high court thought the state court of appeals ruling didn’t represent a 1st amendment violation.   I’ve recently presumed that protesters, despite being offensive, would be insulated in the enjoyment of their “right” to protest.  Honestly, I’m happy to see that protest must be peaceful and appropriate, using a “public” standard rather than their own subject “radical” standards. After all, they have a right to say it, but others have a right to not listen.  That’s the way I see it.

For more on the subject, see an article by Julie Hilden, posted in Verdict. Link

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