Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 8, 2010 / 24 Nissan 5770

The Almighty hates judges

By Ann Coulter



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In an opinion that may have been written by Heidi Montag, a federal court of appeals recently threw out a jury verdict in favor of a father, Albert Snyder, who had sued protesters at his son Matthew's funeral for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Solely because Matthew was a Marine, a Kansas-based cult, consisting mostly of members of a single family, traveled to Maryland in order to stand outside Matthew's funeral with placards saying things like, "G0d Loves Dead Soldiers," "G0d Hates You," "You're Going to Hell," "Semper Fi Fags," "Thank G0d for Dead Soldiers," "Thank G0d for IEDs" and "G0d Hates Fags."

But wait, it gets funnier.

The cult's leader/father is Fred Phelps, who calls America a "sodomite nation of flag-worshipping idolaters." Since you won't read it anyplace else, Phelps has run for public office five times — as a Democrat.

The Fred Phelps cult members travel around the country and hold vile signs outside military funerals because they believe that the reason American soldiers die in wars is that G0d hates the U.S.A. because it tolerates homosexuals.

I'll leave it to others to speculate as to why the very thought of male homosexuality gets Fred Phelps into such a lather.

Snyder has appealed his case to the Supreme Court, and now the court will have to decide whether the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) can ever exist in a country with a First Amendment.

Unlike many legal concepts, the tort of IIED is not an obscure legal doctrine written in pig Latin. It means what it says: speech or conduct specifically intended to inflict emotional distress. The usual description of the tort of IIED is that a reasonable man viewing the conduct would react by saying, "That's outrageous!"

The Second Restatement of Torts (1965) defines IIED as conduct "so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community."

As a respected New York judge, Judith Kaye, described it, "The tort is as limitless as the human capacity for cruelty." Inasmuch as IIED claims are made based on all manner of insults, rudeness, name-calling and petty affronts, the claim is often alleged, but rarely satisfied.

But if a group of lunatics standing outside the funeral of a fallen American serviceman with hateful signs about the deceased does not constitute intentional infliction of emotional distress, then there is no such tort recognizable in America anymore.

The protesters weren't publishing their views in a magazine, announcing them on a "Morning Zoo" radio program, proclaiming them on some fringe outlet like "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" — or even standing on a random street corner. Their protest was held outside a funeral for the specific purpose of causing pain to the deceased's loved ones.

But the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals noticed that the cult's malicious signs contained words, and that words are "speech" … which is protected by the First Amendment! (Or was it the Seventh?) Anyway, that was basically the end of the court's analysis.

Letter from JWR publisher


True, speech will often be involved in inflicting emotional distress on someone, say, for example, standing outside a funeral with signs that say "G0d Hates You!"

Similarly, words are used in committing treason ("The Americans are over here!"), robbery ("Your money or your life!") and sexual harassment ("Have sex with me or you're fired."). Copyright law prohibits speech that uses someone else's words, and insider trading and trade-secrets laws prohibit the use of words revealing insider information or trade secrets.

The fact that "speech" was involved in the Fred Phelps cult's assault on Matthew Snyder's funeral is a mundane and irrelevant fact. The question is: Did that speech constitute intentional infliction of emotional distress? Hey, look! That reasonable man over there is nodding his head "yes." If so, the First Amendment is as irrelevant as it is to a copyright law violation.

The Supreme Court has upheld shockingly restrictive bans on speech outside of abortion clinics: content-based restrictions on the speech of pro-lifers singing, "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world."

Is abortion more sacrosanct than a son's funeral? Is singing "Jesus loves the little children" deserving of less First Amendment protection than placards saying, "G0d Loves Dead Soldiers"? Hey, reasonable man over there — got a minute?

Even the Fred Phelps cult's "epic" posted online and accusing the Snyders of raising their son badly, which would seem to have the strongest claim to First Amendment protection, would not be protected in other contexts. Last week in Massachusetts, nine teenagers were criminally charged with cyberbullying, based in part on malicious postings about the victim on their Facebook pages.

Thanks to idiot lawyers, who think it makes them sound smart to say "Black is white" and "Up is down," one of the biggest problems in society today is the refusal to draw lines. Here's a nice bright line: Holding malevolent signs outside the funeral of an American serviceman who died defending his country constitutes intentional infliction of emotional distress.


Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Ann Coulter Archives

BUY ANN'S LATEST
"Guilty: Liberal 'Victims' and Their Assault on America"  

In her most controversial and fiercely argued book yet, Ann Coulter calls out liberals for always playing the victim when in fact, as she sees it, they are the victimizers. In GUILTY, Coulter explodes this myth to reveal that when it comes to bullying, no one outdoes the Left. GUILTY is a mordantly witty and shockingly specific catalog of offenses which Coulter presents from A to Z. And as with each of her past books, all of which were NYT bestsellers, Coulter is fearless in her penchant for saying what needs saying about politics and culture today.

© 2006 Universial Media

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles