Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Constitutional Right To Not Be Sued Too Harshly

I've never seen it in the Constitution either, but U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett seems to know all about it. For once, conservatives are right when they talk about “unelected judges legislating from the bench.”

Last October a jury ruled that the Westboro Baptist Church — that’s Fred Phelps and all of the other “church” members who look just like him — had to pay $10.9 million to Albert Snyder and his family. Snyder’s son Matthew was a Marine Lance Corporal who was killed in Iraq. Fred Phelps and his gang of mutants were picketing Matthew’s funeral. Their reason — as we all know by now — is that American military deaths in Iraq are God’s way of punishing America for tolerating homosexuals.

So Albert Snyder sued Fred Phelps’ “church” for emotional distress and invasion of privacy and was awarded $10.9 million. And now Judge Richard Bennett has reduced the award to $5 million. His reasoning was based on “the need to weigh any harm Snyder suffered against the financial resources of the church.”


Or maybe it’s up to Fred Phelps to worry about his own financial resources. He could protect them himself by not engaging in hateful acts which would logically result in a $10 million verdict. You know, that “individual responsibility” that conservatives are always talking about.

People have lost their homes and businesses, and been forced into bankruptcy, by expensive lawsuits. Whether that’s right or not, it’s a fact. Since nobody else has any guarantee that they won't be sued into bankruptcy, why should a hateful shitbag like Fred Phelps have his own personal safety net that nobody else is entitled to?

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Blogger Candace said...

I cannot TELL you how much that pisses me off!!! Even more than when they reduce jury awards against corporations that pollute the environment and maim and/or kill people.

I wonder where Phelps gets his money, anyway. Yesterday I was reading a website about a Million Fag March planned next month. They're trying to get as many people as possible, straight and gay, to show up in Kansas to protest. Someone pointed out that Phelps owns most of the property surrounding his "church" and there's also a huge wall around it, so that the protestors wouldn't be seen, anyway. But someone else said it doesn't matter, as long as enough people show up to attract the press. Anyway, that got me to wondering about the source of Phelps' income.

February 6, 2008 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Candace: Good point; I have no idea where his money comes from. That would be nice if there was a huge march near his "church." I'm surprised he doesn't get hassled more often. Even in a conservative state like Kansas, most people have to be revulsed by a sickfuck like that.

February 6, 2008 at 11:59 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Candace has a great point. Who's funding that fucker? He doesn't front a megachurch like all the Sunday morning lunatics. It's almost as if the wingnut machine take a few million it has lying around and funnels it to him for shits and giggles.

February 6, 2008 at 12:15 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Randal: I wouldn't doubt it. It could be that Phelps is the Bad Cop, and the more "mainstream" Good Cops like Dobson and Robertson are secretly supporting him.

February 6, 2008 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

Good point, Tom. Phelps made the decision to picket the funeral. There was no confusion or conflicting facts involved in the matter. He should pay what the jury decreed.

February 6, 2008 at 6:26 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

J: Damn right. Anyone who performs an act that hateful and meanspirited deserves whatever the law can throw at them, and then some.

February 6, 2008 at 8:14 PM  
Blogger Carlos said...

Phelps and the judge both sicken me! I posted my short rant on my blog.

February 7, 2008 at 2:44 AM  
Anonymous proudprogressive said...

Phelps has an on line church site i do believe and probably gets donations..which of course he doesn't have to pay any taxes on. There is documentary about him called Fall from Grace i think..This is a double edged sword..as far as free speech goes..BUT in the case of Phelps , he has managed to OFFEND people so egreggiously , seriously the guy and his inbred family do not know when to STFU - he is mentally ill, beats his grown children..brainwashes the grandkids to hate ,people they don't even have the comprehension to understand...ie TODLERS saying "I hate fags, i hate em , hate em" - what kind of mental case goes to funerals and does demonstrations.Their signs alone , make them CLINICALLY a danger to other..the town they live in , is actually embarrassed by them. And never since footage of Nazi Germany death camps I have seen such Hatred on Display. Garenteed Phelps who had his law license revoked will take this case to the next level - He thrives on negitive attention.

Finally , I gotta say , its sooo time to push back HARD on ALL FUNDI's - thank them for sharing and to STFU , go back to their churches believe whatever the hell they want ! - but keep it out of our public policies. Its cultish,its not chistianity. Its hateful, and its willfully ignorant. They have been give FAR to much POWER. Its time for them to experience a BACKLASH, and they , THEY through the first stone !

February 7, 2008 at 9:03 AM  
Blogger Mauigirl said...

I'm so sick of these people. And people like this who take other people's money to promote their brand of hatefulness are truly committing the sin of "taking the Lord's name in vain." As an agnostic, I don't know if there is a hell, but if there is, these people will surely go there.

February 7, 2008 at 11:09 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Carlos: I'm glad you posted on it too. I left a comment there.

Proudprogressive: Yes, Phelps does have a website. He also has his e-mail address posted there somewhere. I've sent a few choice e-mails to him in the past. Nothing threatening or slanderous; just namecalling. Not that it does any good; someone like that is probably immune to any name you could call him.

Phelps has his First Amendment rights, but I don't think they include police protection, or being protected from the consequences of his speech. If a gay person walked into a redneck bar and yelled out "Fuck all you breeders!" he'd get the shit stomped out of him. Why should it be any different for Fred Phelps?

February 7, 2008 at 11:34 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Mauigirl: You're right, people like Phelps are taking the Lord's name in vain by using religion to promote a hateful cause. And yes, if there's a Hell, Phelps will be joining Jerry Falwell there (and the sooner the better).

February 7, 2008 at 11:46 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

Why should any church organization have a better safety net than most of us are entitled to? Particularly the wild, whacked out purveyors of mind-control bullcrap like Phucking Phred Phelps (PPP).

February 8, 2008 at 6:04 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Proudprogressive, you say what I feel as well or better than could ever say it. GREAT comment. I will come visit your blog now!

February 8, 2008 at 6:05 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: But you don't understand, God intended that churches (and that includes phony shitwipes that pretend to be holy and God-like) are different. When they preach hate, it's Holy, because, uhh...well...

February 8, 2008 at 8:25 PM  
Anonymous Kvatch said...

Damn! I want to get me some 'o that kind of protection.

February 9, 2008 at 4:48 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Kvatch: Yeah, if one person has a safety net like that, we should all have it.

Cool blog, BTW. Glad to see you're still around.

February 9, 2008 at 5:04 PM  

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