Is It Legal? Supreme Court OKs Protests at Soldiers' Funerals and Mom of 550-Pound Boy Faces Charges

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," June 30, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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MONICA CROWLEY, GUEST HOST: We continue now with "Is It Legal?" The mother of a 14-year-old South Carolina boy who weighs 550 pounds faces felony neglect charges, and 10 more people will reportedly be charged in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. But first, the U.S. Supreme Court says these anti-gay protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church can continue to picket at the funerals of American soldiers.

Megyn, let me begin with you. I think that what these people do is particularly despicable. I mean, if you've got a beef with the United States military and their policies on gays, then go picket outside the Pentagon. But for God's sake, do not be picketing outside the funeral of an American serviceman or woman. I find it so disgusting, and yet, the U.S. Supreme Court says they can do it. Why?

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MEGYN KELLY, "AMERICA'S NEWSROOM" CO-HOST: Yes. Who, other than the people who are part of this so-called church, would disagree with that? I can't imagine there's one viewer watching this show who likes what these people have to say. And they don't care whether the service people were gay or straight. In fact, as far as I know, they all have been straight. And yet, they go to their funerals to try to protest the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. They're nut cases. It's all one big family.

In any event, I don't think the judges on the Supreme Court or the lower courts like these people anyway. What they do like is the First Amendment, and what happened here was Missouri tried to pass a law as other states have done saying you can't protest within a certain radius of funerals. And the — but the law wasn't that well-defined. It didn't say what the radius was. So this crazy church hired the ACLU, or didn't have to hire but the ACLU, of course, stepped in and volunteered to sue to challenge the law. They got an injunction preventing the enforcement of the law. The Supreme Court was just asked whether that injunction should be left in place. They refused to take the case, which means as a practical matter the law cannot be enforced while this litigation plays out in Missouri. So they still have a chance of enforcing it.

CROWLEY: OK. So do you agree that the reason the Supreme Court turned it down was because the case just wasn't ripe yet?

LIS WIEHL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Exactly. The Supreme Court said, look, we're not ruling on the constitutionality. They didn't say we love these guys either. I agree. Everybody could agree on that. But they said, "It's not right for us yet. You at the lower court level have to decide on the constitutionality." Because yes, there is a First Amendment, of course. But you can also put reasonable time, manner and limit restrictions. You can say, as the law tried to say, OK, you can protest, but not for an hour before and an hour after. Let's see…

CROWLEY: And isn't it true that in America we do have protected areas like Arlington National Cemetery for example...

WIEHL: Of course. Of course.

CROWLEY: ...and schools, so if a protest is going to happen and have an adverse impact, right, the law says that they can be blocked.

WIEHL: Exactly.


KELLY: But Monica, the problem here, Missouri would have been fine, I think, if they had written the law the way Ohio did, where they said 300 yards away from the funeral and don't do it for an hour before or an hour after the funeral service. Unfortunately, they did a broad-brush law that said just stay the heck away, essentially. And that's why they got the challenge. I think even if their law winds up failing, they're going to pass a law that looks more like Ohio's, and the soldiers' families will be protected in Missouri ultimately.

CROWLEY: Megyn, do you know if any other states have laws like this in place?

KELLY: Yes, about 40, all because of these crazies at the Westboro Baptist Church, who come out to make a ridiculous point. No one ever thought we needed a law like this. Nobody was bothering grieving family members of service personnel until these people decided to make their message known at the funeral. So, now, thankfully, most states are protecting funeral goers. And I think Missouri will get the law right eventually one way or the other.

WIEHL: They need to rewrite the law.

CROWLEY: And the Missouri attorney general actually says he's going to appeal on this.

WIEHL: Absolutely.

CROWLEY: Well, these people do this to their eternal shame.

All right. Let's move on to Bernie Madoff. A report today...

WIEHL: Right.

CROWLEY: ...saying that up to 10 more indictments could be coming. Who are we looking at here? Maybe the wife, Ruth?

WIEHL: Absolutely. The wife, Ruth, the two sons. The wife wasn't just the wife who sat at home. She was the bookkeeper for this organization. And the only other person that's been charged right now is Madoff's accountant. So what I would be doing if I were the prosecutor is — I'm sure they already have — is, you know, getting everything from that accountant, getting the names of everybody else that knew things and then what incentive does Madoff have now after a 150-year sentence? Not much except one: to try to save his family.

CROWLEY: Well, and Megyn, we saw yesterday a statement from the wife, Ruth. It was clearly lawyered up. She is clearly lawyered up. I think this was a CIA — CYA statement from Ruth Madoff.

KELLY: Right.

CROWLEY: He also had two sons.

KELLY: Now she feels bad.

CROWLEY: Well, I guess. I guess. But we also had two sons. We've got a brother who worked with Bernie Madoff.

KELLY: The brother. The brother. Hello, the brother was the compliance officer for the company.

WIEHL: Right.

KELLY: He's the guy responsible for saying "We're meeting all the SEC regulations. We're not doing anything wrong." I would say the brother would be the No. 1 place you look to see who's going to be charged next. But I don't know. So far they haven't named anybody specifically, and so far we haven't heard anything about these two sons, who Bernie Madoff has maintained knew nothing about it. They only ran the legitimate end of the business.

CROWLEY: And just one quick thing though. Don't forget, a la Martha Stewart, if you lie to the feds during an investigation, a federal investigation, that's a crime right there. The cover-up is — well, maybe not in this case but it's usually worse than the actual crime. This was a very sophisticated fraud. One man did not do this by himself.

KELLY: Exactly. Exactly.

WIEHL: Absolutely right.

CROWLEY: All right. Let's move on to the South Carolina case. Megyn, we have this very sad story about this boy, 14 years old, weighing 550 pounds. The mother has now been charged with a count of child neglect and I guess endangerment. If this child weighed, say, 60 pounds, that would be a clear case of neglect, right? The child's life is in danger. But can't you make the other argument that he's so morbidly obese that his — that his life is also in danger?

KELLY: You absolutely can, and I'm glad they did. Listen, I am not for the nanny state. And I get upset when I see prosecutors coming in and trying to tell parents how to parent their children. This is not one of those cases. This is not a problematic case. This is egregious. This mother basically says, well, she didn't have a lot of money, and she didn't have that much time to, you know, sort of watch him, make sure he was eating the right thing. Well, she certainly had enough time to buy him the food and to provide food that was obviously unhealthy, because no 14-year-old boy should be 555 pounds. She's pushing this kid toward a heart attack, not to mention a litany of other health problems. The state tried to step in. They tried to warn her, and say, "Ma'am, you're basically killing your son," and she blew it off.

CROWLEY: That's right. That's right. Quickly, Lis.

WIEHL: First of all, this woman needs help. I agree with that. Maybe she needs psychological counseling putting her in prison where he says the boy is now going to get depressed is going to make him eat more.

CROWLEY: All right, ladies, thank you so much for joining me today.

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