Tuesday, March 8, 2016

"F-ck" vs. "F-gs" in current Supreme Court parlance

     When the Court has some doity woids to deal with, whaddoo they do?? This is not just a hypothetical exercise, but can be seen in action in yesterday's American Freedom Defense Initiative v. King County dissent from the denial of certiorari, written by Clarence Thomas, with Samuel Alito on board. The free-speech-on-side-of-a-bus case opinion includes,

When the Nation was divided over the Vietnam War, the Court decided whether the First Amendment prohibits the Government from prosecuting a man for wearing a “‘“F— the Draft”’” jacket in a courthouse, Cohen, supra, at 16[.] More recently, we have decided whether protest- ers can brandish signs proclaiming “‘God Hates Fags’” and “‘God Hates the USA/Thank God for 9/11’” outside a soldier’s funeral, Snyder v. Phelps, 562 U. S. 443, 447–448 (2011)[.]
Id. at 7.

     Apparently the rubric, then, is that "f-ck" has to have only an identifying "f", with all other letters elided; but "f-gs" goes uncut and uncensored, as "fags". Would the same be done with racial slurs? or other bad words? Hm. What is the ratio decidiendi here?

     Those who think the different treatment of "f-gs" and "f-ck" may have something to do with Thomas' and Alito's dissents in Obergefell...well, ya never know.

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