March 29, 2010
More Popular Outrage Today over Westboro
I'm sorry to keep beating this drum, but when the news demands it . . .
Today the newswires and blogs are crackling with outrage over the 4th Circuit's ruling that the man who sued Westboro Church for demonstrating at his son's funeral must pay Westboro's court costs ("Should Phelps' vile attacks on dead soldiers be rewarded with court fees? Court says yes").
As I posted earlier (see post on 3/26, below) about the Westboro demonstrations, when behavior -- including the use of public property -- is legal but normatively unacceptable, the inability of legal institutions to prevent it (even if that inability is appropriate) can lead to popular outrage and dangerous informal sanctions. In the case of Westboro, it already has. Expect more.
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