Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

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Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by Ruski on Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:12 pm

WASHINGTON Supreme Court justices Wednesday struggled with the free-speech question of whether fundamentalist church members have a right to picket funerals for dead soldiers.

The justices heard arguments in the emotion-laden case of Albert Snyder of York, Pa. His son, a Marine, died in Iraq in 2006. Members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, protested the funeral to make their point that U.S. deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are punishment for Americans' immorality, including tolerance of homosexuality and abortion.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the question is whether the First Amendment must tolerate "exploiting this bereaved family."

Lawyers for Snyder are asking the Supreme Court to reinstate a $5 million verdict against members of the fundamentalist church, who picketed his son's funeral with signs like "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "God Hates the USA."

At issue is whether the First Amendment protects protesters at a funeral from liability for intentionally inflicting emotional distress on the family of the deceased.

Protesters on both sides of the debate demonstrated outside the court.

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church toted placards mocking homosexuality and encouraging the deaths of more soldiers in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. They were surrounded by dozens of students from American and George Washington universities who were holding their own signs and debating the church members, the Washington Post reported.

Westboro members, led by the Rev. Fred Phelps, welcome the attention the protests have brought, mocking their critics and vowing not to change their ways whatever the outcome at the Supreme Court.

"No American should ever be required to apologize for following his or her conscience," said Margie Phelps, a daughter of Fred Phelps and the lawyer who is arguing the case for the church.

'It was taken from me'
Snyder undertook the lawsuit after the Phelpses picketed the funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, in March 2006. The Marine was killed in a Humvee accident.

Snyder won an $11 million verdict against the church for intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other claims.

A judge reduced the award to $5 million before the federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., threw out the verdict altogether, citing the church's First Amendment rights.

For Snyder, the case is not about free speech but harassment.

"I had one chance to bury my son and it was taken from me," Snyder said.

Forty-eight states, 42 U.S. senators and veterans groups have sided with Snyder, asking the court to shield funerals from the Phelpses' "psychological terrorism."

While distancing themselves from the church's message, media organizations, including The Associated Press, have called on the court to side with the Phelpses because of concerns that a victory for Snyder could erode speech rights.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by Death no More on Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:06 pm

I hope Snyder wins, and if the Westboro Church has to pay 5 million then thats all the better.
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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by Rotaretilbo on Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:20 pm

Frankly, I'd rather like to see the Westboro Church burned to the ground. Crazies like them who have no fucking idea what the Bible actually says make life for regular Christians like myself much more difficult, because we are often grouped with them.

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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by Vigil on Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:27 pm

They do all they do for attention, there like a small child that throws the family pet in the washing machine to get attention.

If you ignore them, and the world ignores them, they lose their power.

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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by Toaster on Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:34 pm

"No American should ever be required to apologize for following his or her conscience,"

...........................................................................................

You're not being asked to apologize. You're being asked to accept punishment.

Either way, it's strange to hear that from somebody who believes that an all powerful God should send an American to hell for being gay, or joining the military.
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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by Death no More on Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:59 pm

Rotaretilbo wrote:Frankly, I'd rather like to see the Westboro Church burned to the ground. Crazies like them who have no fucking idea what the Bible actually says make life for regular Christians like myself much more difficult, because we are often grouped with them.
That would be cool to
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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by Gauz on Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:00 pm

They have the right to do it, I don't believe they should be be put on trial for doing something completely legal, alebit immoral. I dislike them VERY much but I dont think we should be selective with the ammendment.
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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by KrAzY on Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:35 pm

tey have the right to do their protests... but individual attacks on people are not covered by the rights to free speech.... at the very worst they can be sued for causing emotional distress to the family, which has absolutely nothing to do with free speech rights.

heres a rights to free speech test... go into a public location, and start shouting insults at every person who passes by... I can assure you within half an hour you will be in handcuffs being taken down to the police station for disorderly conduct, where you will be fined between 500 and 2000 dollars. Free speech protects the right of Americans to speak out against their government... it does not give us the right to attack people based on their Race, Religion, or Sexual preferences.

Westboro Baptist church is a Cult headed by Phelps and its just a matter of time before these guys are shot dead by some pissed off ex-sniper whose spotter they decide to protest the funeral of....


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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by Vigil on Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:50 pm

The problem is a lot of the Phelps family are lawyers, so they know just enough about the law so they can avoid getting sued, or get off due to techincalities.

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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by Rotaretilbo on Wed Oct 06, 2010 5:02 pm

Gauz wrote:They have the right to do it, I don't believe they should be be put on trial for doing something completely legal, alebit immoral. I dislike them VERY much but I dont think we should be selective with the ammendment.

Harassment is not legal. Intentionally causing extreme emotional duress is also not legal. Your personal freedoms end when they infringe on someone else's personal freedoms, and Mr. Snyder has the right to bury his son in peace.

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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by TNine on Wed Oct 06, 2010 5:34 pm

Too few people actually understand the Constitution, amendments, etc. Your freedoms are limited, for instance you can't libel or slander under the freedom of press, you cannot make human sacrifices under the freedom of Religion, you cannot own a tank under the second amendment, and you cannot harass people under the freedom of speech. Read: you cannot harass people under the freedom of speech.

And yes, i do know that all of those freedoms are only the First Amendment
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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by laxspartan007 on Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:50 pm

people are stupid...
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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by Dud Doodoo on Wed Oct 06, 2010 7:06 pm

Vigil wrote:The problem is a lot of the Phelps family are lawyers, so they know just enough about the law so they can avoid getting sued, or get off due to techincalities.
Technicalities will not save them in the Supreme Court. The justices actually decide what the intention of the law was.

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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by Felix on Wed Oct 06, 2010 7:46 pm

Seems odd they hate America, yet try to exploit all the rights they can out if it. It's very sad and I hope Snyder wins the case.
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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by CivBase on Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:16 pm

Seriously? There are people SIDING with this church?

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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by Rasq'uire'laskar on Wed Oct 06, 2010 11:23 pm

CivBase wrote:Seriously? There are people SIDING with this church?
Yeah, because they're bringing up a valid point about the First Amendment.

Believe me, there's nothing I'd like to see more than these Untermenschen choke to death in a roomfull of Zyklon B, but they've got a point that they have the right to SAY this stuff. Whether they have the right to say it AT the funeral of a dead soldier is a different matter entirely.

"Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose."
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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by Rotaretilbo on Wed Oct 06, 2010 11:57 pm

We should wait for a family member of a WBC member to die, and then protest the funeral with signs citing various Bible verses that contradict the fuck out of their shit. Genesis 18:25-26 comes to mind.

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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by Vigil on Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:30 am

Like they ever listened to reason or counter protests before.

Remember when they were at Comic-con this year and there was a counter-protest mocking them?

Seriously they are getting really desperate now.

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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by Gauz on Thu Oct 07, 2010 6:00 am

Rotaretilbo wrote:
Gauz wrote:They have the right to do it, I don't believe they should be be put on trial for doing something completely legal, alebit immoral. I dislike them VERY much but I dont think we should be selective with the ammendment.

Harassment is not legal. Intentionally causing extreme emotional duress is also not legal. Your personal freedoms end when they infringe on someone else's personal freedoms, and Mr. Snyder has the right to bury his son in peace.
Don't they have the right to picket a public area? They usually do it a lengths away, if they were breaking the laws they would've been arrested.

Marge Phelps is a lawyer herself, she knows what she can and cannot do.
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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by Vigil on Thu Oct 07, 2010 6:03 am

As are her daughters, or at the very least they're studying law at college.

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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by KristallNacht on Thu Oct 07, 2010 6:13 am

I would gladly take some leave to protest one of their funerals in my dress blues lol
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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by laxspartan007 on Thu Oct 07, 2010 6:31 am

XD, exactly...people are stupid
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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by Felix on Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:13 pm

This seems along the lines of stalking and harrasing, but maybe that's just me.
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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by Offensive Bias on Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:46 pm

Glad we banned them from the UK Smile You should all move here, where they can't hurt you.
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Re: Court hears 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers' case

Post by Death no More on Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:59 pm

Offensive Bias wrote:Glad we banned them from the UK Smile You should all move here, where they can't hurt you.
Since when did they harass people in the UK? Anyways this is more of harassment then protest, anyone thinking otherwise clearly doesn't understand what they are doing at these funerals.
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