Proselytise Chief Justice Roberts, and thy Neighbor?January 21, 2014 at 2:33 pm | Posted in Privacy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: abortion, Anthony M. Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice, Clarence Thomas, Elena Kagan, free speech, freedom of speech, John G. Roberts, John Roberts, Justices of the Supreme Court, McCullen v. Coakley, Privacy, Robert Barnes, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen G. Breyer, Supreme Court, Washington Post
According to a recent article by Robert Barnes in the Washington Post, the Supreme Court is presently deciding the size of the buffer zone around abortion clinics. At issue is whether a person entering an abortion clinic can choose to avoid hearing the arguments of protesters, and not be forced to have a discussion with them, by staying within a wide-enough buffer zone.
More broadly, the issue is about the tensions between freedom of speech and privacy, including the right to choose not to engage in a discussion – the right not to be subjected to another’s attempt to persuade.
The Justices of the Supreme Court should remember that the existence and size of the buffer zone that results from their decision in this case will, by logic, apply also to the Supreme Court itself, as well as to the Justices’ own homes, and to their persons, when shopping or traveling or strolling. If the buffer is thin, anyone will be able to approach Justice John Roberts, or any of the other Justices, when the Justice seeks to return or to leave home, or any time and place when the Justice is outside home, to convince the Justice of the errors in his or her judgement, or of the rightness or wrongness of either side in any case that is before the Court.
The outcome of the decision will also apply to all lower Federal courts, and to the dwelling places and sojourns of their judges, as well as to the workplaces, dwelling places and sojourns of all Federal civil servants, regardless of whether their work is classified or not, and to those of all members of Congress. They will apply also to every house of worship in the land, and to the NRA, and to the Koch brothers.
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