First Amendment ruling protects protesters at military funerals

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the first amendment protects hateful protests at military funerals, even when the message is deeply offensive.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote that although speech causes pain, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker, even on hurtful speech.
The case arose when the Westboro Church protested an unrelated military funeral for fallen marine Matthew Snyder with signs of "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "God Hates Fags". Albert Snyder, the marine's father, sued the Westboro Church for, among other things, emotional distress, according to the New York Times.
The 8-1 decision of the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Westboro Church on three grounds; that they protested in a public street (1000 feet away from the funeral), that they protested on matters of public concern, and that it was not a private grudge between the Snyders and the church, according to the LA Times.
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. was the only justice who voted for the Snyders, arguing that this was a malevolent personal attack at a time of deep anguish, and that our national commitment to free and open debate is not a license for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case.

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This page contains a single entry by kraus442 published on March 2, 2011 1:25 PM.

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