A Matter Of Opinion

FRIDAY, APRIL 30, 2010, 8:25 A.M.

Petitions and privacy

Those wanting petition signatures to remain private can't be encouraged by the questioning that arose from the Supreme Court hearing. Alito is on board. Roberts is a maybe. Thomas? Who knows since he doesn't ask questions. Hopes for Scalia might've been dashed:

Declaring that the rough-and-tumble of democracy is not for the faint-hearted, what Scalia referred to as the “touchy, feely” sensitivity of some political activists, the Justice said “you can’t run a democracy” with political activity behind a First Amendment shroud.  “You are asking us to enter into a whole new field,” Scalia told James Bopp Jr., the lawyer for Washington State signers of an anti-gay rights petition.  Politics, the Justice went on, “takes a certain amount of civic courage.  The First Amendment does not protect you from civic discourse — or even from nasty phone calls.”

Do you agree with the sentiment expressed by Scalia? Do you think it pertains to this case?

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Gary Crooks
Gary Crooks oversees production of the opinion pages, including writing editorials, and editing and selecting letters, columns and cartoons.

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