I sympathize with letter writer Arthur Lapenotiere ("In Westboro Baptist case, court upheld the law," Oct. 10), who wrote this in defense of the Supreme Court's ruling, quoting from Justice William J. Brennan, "If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive." Oh, what a noble sentiment. If only it were true.
Think back to another recent ruling that involved the same principle, Morse v. Frederick (and the infamous "Bong hits for Jesus" sign). In that case, a high school student unfurled a banner critical of prohibition — albeit in a rather juvenile and offensive way — and was suspended from school by the principal. In that case, the Supreme Court had an opportunity to reaffirm the First Amendment right of an American citizen to protest a government policy that he felt was immoral, but instead the court sided against free speech, in effect saying the First Amendment doesn't apply because they find the idea itself offensive. This is the absolute embodiment of hypocrisy. The Supreme Court's reason? The school's "compelling interest" in restricting drug use trumped the First Amendment.