Free Speech and the New Supreme Court Term


The Wall Street Journal's Jess Bravin profiles two big free speech cases the Supreme Court is set to hear in its upcoming term:

On Oct. 6, the justices will weigh whether the First Amendment protects a Kansas church's campaign to publicize its beliefs by picketing military funerals with vulgar placards and insulting fallen soldiers' survivors in online screeds.

The father of a fallen Marine is seeking damages for emotional distress from the church, which believes that God is killing American soldiers to punish the U.S. for its tolerance of homosexuality.

A month later , the court is to consider whether states can bar minors from buying violent videogames, on the theory that these games cause damage to developing minds and this outweighs young people's constitutional rights.

Both cases add digital twists to constitutional doctrine. The church's Internet posting potentially exposes the entire world to its hurtful attack, while the videogame laws single out computer role-playing as uniquely dangerous to children while leaving violent music, films, comic books and other media unrestricted.