The Battle of the Ilyas: Confusion Update

October 8th, 2010

For those of you in the D.C. Libertarian community, you will know that there are two Ilyas.

Ilya Shapiro, a Senior Fellow of Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute, and Ilya Somin, a Professor at George Mason School of Law. Both are Libertarians. Both are Russian. Both have the same last initial. They often get confused. But they are nothing alike.

Last year we held the First Annual Battle of the Ilyas contest to decide who gets to keep the name. The winner was Ilya Shapiro. Shapiro’s reign continues until November 24, 2010. We are in the process of planning the next round of competition.

Leading up to that event, I will keep track of Ilya confusion.

Today in the Atlantic Wire, Max Fisher includes a quote from: “Cato’s Ilya Somin.”

There Is No Right Against Being Offended Cato’s Ilya Somin writes, “A private cemetery can and should remove unwanted visitors for trespassing — but the Phelpses didn’t enter the cemetery.  A town can pass ordinances restricting the time, place, and manner of protests — but the Phelpses stayed within all applicable regulations and followed police instructions.  Violent or aggressive protestors can be both prosecuted and sued for assault, harassment, and the like — but the Phelpses’ protests are neither loud nor involve ‘getting up in the grill’ of people, as their lawyer (and church member) put it during oral argument.  In short, there’s very little to this case and the Phelpses’ actions, ugly and objectionable as they are, are as constitutionally protected as a neo-Nazi parade.  If people don’t like that, they can change state laws to put certain further restrictions on protests near funerals or other sensitive areas — or federal laws in the case of military cemeteries—but they shouldn’t be able to sue simply for being offended.”