On the face of it, the First Amendment does not seem to be in terribly good shape in Dearborn, Michigan:
DEARBORN, Mich., April 23 (UPI) — A constitutional law professor says a trial and the brief jailing of two Florida pastors who wanted to demonstrate outside a Michigan mosque is “bizarre.”
Florida pastors Terry Jones and Wayne Sapp were briefly jailed Friday in Dearborn after refusing to pay a $1 peace bond following a trial that found they would breach the peace if allowed to hold a rally outside the Islamic Center of America, the Detroit Free Press reported Saturday.
“The judge should have thrown out the case,” said Robert Sedler, constitutional law professor at Wayne State University.
Sedler said the entire process was “bizarre” and that “the whole thing is unconstitutional.” He cited U.S. Supreme Court cases backing up Jones’ right to protest. The Michigan ACLU also criticized the case.
“This is a complete abuse of the court process, and all those involved should be ashamed,” said Rana Elmir of the ACLU Michigan office. “The prosecutor’s office and the Dearborn court turned the First Amendment on its head. What happened today should never have happened. This is a true miscarriage of Justice.”
As so often with anything involving Jones, there’s plenty of confusion to go round. Volokh has more here.
Islamic militants involved in a plot to bomb an Indonesian cathedral ahead of Easter celebrations planned to film and broadcast the inferno. Indonesian police said 19 suspects, who had planted bombs beneath a gas pipeline at the Christ Cathedral near Jakarta, were part of a new terrorist cell inspired by al-Qaeda.
The bombs, which were defused in a 10-hour operation on Thursday, had been rigged to go off just as services at the 3,000-seat Roman Catholic church were taking place for Good Friday. Maj. Gen. Anton Bachrul Alam, spokesman for the national police, said the 19 suspects who led authorities to bombs planted beneath a gas pipeline near the Christ Cathedral Church just outside of Jakarta did not appear to be part of any large, existing terrorist organisation. Other bombs were left in bags not far from the entrance.
“At this moment, it looks like a new cell,” Maj Gen Alam said, adding that the suspects, all in their 30s and many of them university graduates, told police they had been planning to film the fiery explosion.
“They wanted to make a movie and then broadcast it … that was the plan,” he said.