30 September 2010

Supreme Court Taking on Military Funeral Protest Case

It'll be interesting to see how this shakes out against the First Amendment, but in the past, the Supreme Court has been reluctant to wade into 'content' disputes, preferring instead to focus on 'time-place-and-manner' issues. Will protests at a funeral become circumscribed across the board? Will the ruling on the Westboro Moron Church start to set new precedents?

One thing Al Snyder wants to make clear: His boy fought and died for freedom in Iraq, but not for the right of some "wackos" to spew hate at soldiers' funerals under the protection of the Constitution.

"It's an insult to myself, my family and the veterans to say this is what our military men and women died for," Snyder says, barely concealing his anger.

Yet more than four years after the death of his only son, Matthew, Snyder is in the middle of a Supreme Court case that raises almost precisely that issue.

The court is set to decide whether members of a fundamentalist church in Kansas who picketed Matthew's funeral with signs bearing anti-gay and anti-Catholic invective have a constitutional right to say what they want.

Or, in intruding on a private citizen's funeral in a hurtful way, have the protesters crossed a line and given Snyder the right to collect millions of dollars for the emotional pain they caused?

By: Brant

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