Snyder v Phelps

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Snyder v Phelps


I just thought I would throw this up here since we had a spirited debate about it a few months ago and it hasn't seem to have attracted much attention in the 24 hr news cycle. SCOTUS has ruled in favor of the Westboro church. For those not familiar with the case the question was whether or not the Snyder family could sue Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church for picketing the funeral of their son who died in war. 


The majority opinion ran along the same lines as the lower court. They ruled that the protest was free speech, although Chief Justice Roberts did point out that the government could regulate the time and place but at the time of the protest the members of the protest were within compliance of the law.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote:

Simply put, the church members had the right to be

where they were.  Westboro alerted local authorities to its 

funeral protest and fully complied with police guidance on

where the picketing could be staged.   The picketing was 

conducted  under police supervision some 1,000 feet from 

the church, out of the sight of those at the church.   The 

protest was not unruly; there was no shouting, profanity, 

or violence. 

The record confirms that any  distress occasioned by

Westboro’s picketing turned on the content and viewpoint

of the message conveyed, rather than any interference

with the funeral itself.   A  group of parishioners standing

at the very spot where Westboro stood, holding signs that 

said “God Bless America” and “God Loves You,” would not 

have been subjected to liability.  It was  what Westboro 

said that exposed it to tort damages. 

Given that Westboro’s speech was at a public place on a

matter of public concern, that speech is entitled to “special 

protection” under the First Amendment.  Such speech

cannot be restricted simply because it is upsetting or 

arouses contempt.....


The vote on the case was 8 to 1 with Justice Alito being the only dissenter. I have been extremely concerned with Justice Alito's judgement in free speech cases. This is not the first time he has been the sole dissenter in a free speech case with little to back up his decision other than the offence he personally takes to the speech in question. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X

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Well, I don't want to burst

Well, I don't want to burst your bubble or anything but you must have missed this thread:

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."


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Beyond, you scare me. On the

Beyond, you scare me. On the one hand you masturbate over a poster of Donald Trump, then you say stuff like this and it makes me want to masturbate over a poster of you. And I am not gay.

What bothers me more than anything is how much BOTH sides today don't know our diverse our founders really were.

Jefferson and Adams were at each other's throats politically and the media was vicious to the other. And for a time before they died they had a falling out. But patched things up in the end.

This is one thing that is refreshing to hear from you and it IS surprising to me as well to have this judge out of all of them be the dissenting opinion. I would have expected a judge from my camp to do this, although I still would have disagreed with them if they had.

THE GOOD THING, is that both sides win in the long term. Free speech is simply something you don't fuck with.

So as much as I enjoy being a thorn in your side, I also enjoy that the rare times we do agree.

Don't make me love you. I CANT I WONT NANNY NANNY BOO BOO!


"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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