I’ve written about the quest undertaken by Al Snyder’s quest to bar the hateful Phelps family from military funerals in the past. He vowed to fight, and he did all the way to the end.
The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in favor of Westboro Baptist’s right to free speech.
From Sam Alito’s dissent:
Our profound national commitment to free and open debate is not a license for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case.
Petitioner Albert Snyder is not a public figure. He is simply a parent whose son, Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, was killed in Iraq. Mr. Snyder wanted what is surely the right of any parent who experiences such anincalculable loss: to bury his son in peace. But respondents, members of the Westboro Baptist Church, deprivedhim of that elementary right. They first issued a pressrelease and thus turned Matthew’s funeral into a tumultuous media event. They then appeared at the church,approached as closely as they could without trespassing,and launched a malevolent verbal attack on Matthew and his family at a time of acute emotional vulnerability. As a result, Albert Snyder suffered severe and lasting emotional injury.1 The Court now holds that the First Amendment protected respondents’ right to brutalize Mr. Snyder. I cannot agree.
He aruges that Westboro members can spew their hate in myriad ways:
and the First Amendment ensures that they have almost limitless opportunities to express their views. They may write and distribute books, articles, and other texts; they may create and disseminate video and audio recordings; they may circulate petitions; they may speak to individuals and groups in public forums and in any private venue that wishes to accommodate them; they may picket peacefully in countless locations; they may appearon television and speak on the radio; they may post messages on the Internet and send out e-mails. And they may express their views in terms that are “uninhibited,” “vehement,” and “caustic.”
Ah, Althouse agrees with the outcome. I wish she would elaborate.
Greta agrees as well that the Phelps family has the right to be “lowlife pigs.”
Ed Morrissey: SCOTUS: No jackass exception to the First Amendment. He writes:
This seems to be an eye-of-the-beholder issue. Regardless of the nature of the intrusion into the private funerals of those who died in military service to this country, it’s clear that the Phelps cult believes that its protest is on public policy. The protests rage against the tolerance shown to gays in American society and in American public policy, and warn that God continues to punish us for it. They protest at funerals because their diseased political stance is that God kills our soldiers because of our tolerance for sin.
If it were public policy the Phelps clan had issue with, let them protest in front of the Pentagon, the White House, on the Mall. But not at private funerals where families mourn. Funerals exist for families to say goodbye. For wives, mothers and fathers to hear the blast of 21 guns, to receive a folded flag. It’s not the place to argue public policy.