It’s clearly targeted at stopping the Fred Phelps monsters from picketing the little girl’s funeral. But thanks to a doctrine that allows reasonable “time, place, and manner” restrictions, it’s also almost certainly constitutional:
Arizona legislators quickly approved emergency legislation Tuesday to head off picketing by a Topeka, Kan., church near the funeral service for a 9-year-old girl who was killed in the Tucson shootings. Unanimous votes by the House and Senate sent the bill to Gov. Jan Brewer for her expected signature. It would take effect immediately.
. . . .
The Westboro Baptist Church said Monday it plans to picket Thursday’s funeral for Christina Taylor Green because “God sent the shooter to deal with idolatrous America.” The fundamentalist church has picketed many military funerals to draw attention to its view that the deaths are God’s punishment for the nation’s tolerance of homosexuality.
Betcha Phelps is gay. But I digress.
The girl was the youngest of the six people killed during the shooting at an event held by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was among 14 people injured. Giffords was shot in the head and critically wounded.
Numerous states have passed laws restricting protests at funerals after members of the Westboro church began protesting at the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Arizona legislation is modeled on an Ohio law that was upheld by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Sinema said.
The four-paragraph Arizona bill makes it a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail to picket or conduct other protest activities within 300 feet of a funeral or burial service — about the length of a football field. The prohibition applies from one hour before the event to one hour after.
The Westboro ghouls say they were going to picket 1000 feet away at an intersection anyway.
These Arizona legislators are pretty good at getting sensible legislation passed fast. Trade ya for ours!