The Supreme Court today took up the case of Doe v. Reed, a lawsuit over the constitutionality of Washington State's law requiring public disclosure of the names of people who signed a petition to put an anti-gay initiative on the ballot. James Bopp, the lawyer for the anti-gay group Protect Marriage, had argued in a brief that the petitions must be withheld lest the signers get the Prop 8 donor treatment and--gasp!--get called douchebags in nasty emails. (And yes, that word really appears in a Supreme Court brief; no word yet as to whether it was uttered during oral arguments.)
Surprisingly, arch conservative and good Catholic Justice Antonin Scalia didn't seem to be buying it. During oral arguments this morning, he let loose one of his classic snappy comebacks, telling Bopp:
"Democracy requires civic courage. The First Amendment does not protect you from criticism or even nasty phone calls if you take part in the legislative process."