Theodore's World: Insane!!! Justice Breyer Says Save the Koran, and Burn Constitution

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September 15, 2010

Insane!!! Justice Breyer Says Save the Koran, and Burn Constitution

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer writes for the court in a ruling released yesterday that previous Supreme Court decisions uphold worker retaliation protection.

EDITORIAL: Save the Koran, burn the Constitution

Justice Breyer sacrifices the First Amendment to placate Islam

Washington Times

You can't burn a Koran in a crowded theater, and Supreme CourtJustice Stephen Breyer suggests that to placate foreign extremists, Koran burning might be banned everywhere else in America too.

In an interview aired Tuesday on ABC's "Good Morning America,"Justice Breyer, who is on tour promoting his new book, averred that in the Internet age, speech traditionally protected by the First Amendment may have to be weighed against its global impact. George Stephanopoulos asked the justice about the canceled Sept. 11 Koran burning proposed by Pastor Terry Jones, and whether the fact that people riot in Afghanistan over what happens in the United States poses a challenge to the First Amendment or could "change the nature of what we can allow and protect."

Justice Breyer's largely rhetorical answer invoked the late Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. "Holmes said [free speech] doesn't mean you can shout 'fire' in a crowded theater," Justice Breyer said. "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?" The implication, which Mr. Stephanopoulos reinforced, was that today the crowded theater is the entire world, and any speech that foments violence by anyone for any reason could fall outside First Amendment protections.

The analogy is extremely poor. Shouting fire in a crowded theater doesn't incite an angry riot but a chaotic every-person-for-themselves scramble for safety. The potential danger is understood by everyone present, all of whom are threatened. The darkness of the theater, the confined and ungainly space and the likelihood of the quick spread of fire make quick action imperative. In only one context does shouting fire in a crowded theater make sense: when there actually is a fire.

Holmes' "clear and present danger" test doesn't apply to Koran burning because there is no imminent danger. The world is not a small, dark, crowded room with few exits. Safely burning a Koran does not physically threaten anyone, not even those who think the book reflects the word of God. There is no need for immediate action. There is no potential for the same type of close-quarters chaos. The violence that may arise in response to it is calculated and directed, and such a riot is as much political theater as the Koran burning itself.

It's troubling that a member of the Supreme Court would imply that anything that happens abroad in response to the exercise of free speech in this country should somehow inform the high court in assessing the boundaries of the First Amendment. This is symptomatic of creeping internationalism in the thinking of some justices. In this case, though, the suggestion is not simply to follow the lead of foreign courts, but to take into consideration the violent actions of foreign radicals when weighing American freedoms. Justice Breyer seems open to such a balancing test, in which acts should be banned if they offend a small minority of anti-American extremists who respond with irrational violence.

By this thinking, the best opposition response to any provocative speech is to protest violently. If a rent-a-mob riot in Afghanistan can cause a member of the Supreme Court to begin to question the value of First Amendment protections, the message to opponents of free speech is to ramp up the fighting. Make danger both clear and present.

Justice Breyer hedged that constitutional protection for Muslim books to pander to the sensitivities of radical Islamists abroad is not a foregone conclusion. "It will be answered over time in a series of cases which force people to think carefully," he said. "The judges sit back and think." Clearly on this question, Justice Breyer needs to follow his own counsel.


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Wild Thing's comment.........

Liberalism truly is a mental disorder. He clearly isn’t fit to be a supreme court justice. Thank goodness this was just an interview with George Stepinallofit and not a ruling...yet. But it's unconscionable a SC Justice would even think this, let alone say it.

All these years, every aberrant speech was allowed in the name of the first amendment. Suddenly they’ve found something they won’t allow? Criticism of a murderous cult?

Incredible. Soon we’re not going to be able to do, say or even think anything in opposition to Islam. And it will be our own government that is enforcing this.

I’m just really stunned that the government (at every level) is turning out in full force to privilege Islam and put it above our laws and customs. I knew it was going to happen, but I just didn’t think it was going to happen this fast.

Posted by Wild Thing at September 15, 2010 05:50 AM


The fear of Terrorist attacks has a Supreme Court Justice denying Constitutional rights.

Terrorism is a tactic, just like the Blitzkrieg was during WWII. Through the use of Terrorism, Muslims are winning.

Posted by: BobF at September 15, 2010 07:51 AM

This is scary. Rationalizing like Judge Breyer is insane. The islamists can win without attacking us. They can win without physical attack. The muzzies can win through intimidation and through the dhimmitude of our leaders. You can bet the farm that obama's SCOTUS appointees think along the same line.

Posted by: TomR,armed in Texas at September 15, 2010 09:57 AM

Bryor was the one who has always referred to foreign law to make up his mind on decisions. He got a screw loose, probably more than one.

This should be an impeachable offense. He is sworn to uphold the constitution not burn it.

Posted by: Mark at September 15, 2010 04:14 PM

Bob, good point, your right it is a tactic.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 16, 2010 01:03 AM

Tom, I agree so much, it is very scary to hear this man say such things and to even think them says that is how he feels, how his mind works.

I agree too, the islamists will win easily with this kind of person's thinking.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 16, 2010 01:08 AM

Mark, oh wow thanks for that information. I did not know that about him.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 16, 2010 01:10 AM