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Posted at 11:46 AM ET, 03/ 2/2011

Westboro Baptist Church wins Supreme Court case: Was it the right decision?

By Melissa Bell
shahbaz bhatti
Margie Phelps, second from right, a daughter of Fred Phelps, and the lawyer who argued the case for the Westboro Baptist Church walks from the Supreme Court on Oct. 6. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

The Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protects fundamentalist church members who mount attention-getting, anti-gay protests outside military funerals.

The court voted 8-1 Wednesday in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church and against the father of a dead Marine who sued church members after they picketed his son's funeral.

Justice Samuel Alito was the lone dissenting judge on the case.

"What Westboro said, in the whole context of how and where it chose to say it, is entitled to 'special protection' under the First Amendment," Roberts wrote in the opinion for the court, "and that protection cannot be overcome by a jury finding that the picketing was outrageous."

Read about it here.

More on Westboro Baptist Church:

Westboro Church hacked by Anonymous

Hundreds attend counter protest at Elizabeth Edwards's funeral

Westboro Church meets its match in counter-protesters

Inside Westboro Baptist Church (Photos)

By Melissa Bell  | March 2, 2011; 11:46 AM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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I think what they are doing is a travesty, and whatever God you pray to will show them the error of their ways at some point in the future, but it is still free speech.

Posted by: Anglo_Rider | March 2, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

It is disgusting what they do. Thank God it is only one deranged family.

But freedom of speech is protected and must be.

Posted by: pvilso24 | March 2, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

To answer your question, "were they wrong", the answer is a resounding YES. Am I disgusted by the Supreme Court as much as I am by the Phelps family church? Again, the answer is a resounding YES. Am I surprised by the Courts desicion? A resounding NO. After all, isn't this the same Supreme Court that has no idea what pornography is? Judge Alito, I applaud you, sir, and grieve with you also over this foul ruling. HOW can we ask our military, our son's and daughters, husbands and wives, to put their lives at risk, only to have them mocked and ridiculed, in the most obscene manner possible, when they give the ultimate sacrifice for their country? And to have a CHURCH be behind the obscenity? AND the Supreme Court, the HIGHEST court in this land. And it's not just the military, it's coal miners, it's anyone who has given up their life. Are there NO boundaries for these Phelps people? And for Margie Phelps to THANK Mr. Snyder for giving her so-called CHURCH a megaphone for their cause, is just so beyond wrong that the only thing I can think to say about it, would get this post "refused". Think about that. I would be refused, but the high court says that funerals are a fine, dandy place for the Phelps family to spread their particular brand of hatred and obscenities. Grieving families don't matter, dying for your country, dying because you're supporting a family, simply dying, is a reason for these ignorant, self-serving, glory-mongers to spread their unique brand of AMERICANISM. Do I speak of the Phelphs's or the Supreme Court? YOU can decide that for yourself. I'd like to ask a question now. If the draft were to be brought back, would any of the Phelph's family be drafted or would they all be exempted? Because I can't see ANY reason for any of MY children or grandchildren, having to fight to protect the likes of THEM. I am the daughter of an American soldier who gave his life for this country. I personally enlisted at a time when we were not at war, and my step-son is active military right now. To think that these people (again, take your pick, CHURCH or COURT), are hiding behind what my family has fought and died for, only to spread filth and ignorance, to cause pain and suffering, is an abomination not only of our beloved constitution but also of the Almighty's grace. I believe that we all will have to make our peace one day and explain the choices we have have made. I hope I'm in front of this crew (church AND court!), cause it could take an eternity to explain THIS!! To dishonor our fallen military, the victims of 9/11, the coal miners, THIS is supported by the SUPREME COURT? "MY God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?". I relize there are many "interpertaions" of the Constitution and the Bible. But I REFUSE to believe that our founding Fathers OR GOD, would be in favor of a funeral being the place to air your homophobic, anti-American warped sense of holier-than-thou CRAP. I have a right to bear arms. Sunday dinner, ya'll come on over, ya hear?

Posted by: TearsForMyCountry | March 2, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

The court made the right decision. I say that as someone whose brother was killed fighting in Iraq (SMK, KIA March 14, 2007). There is nothing to say about the church in question. They are not worth consideration. However, the courts decision is a testimony to the strength of our country. Besides, the Patriot Guard Riders make the protesters less than irrelevant. They are inspiring and represent the best of our country - committed to the peaceful protection of mourning families...anonymous, honorable sentinels. Thanks again PGR.

Posted by: firethief | March 3, 2011 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Dont give me this fredom of speech crap. The supreme court is wrong. People do not have a right to protest at PRIVATE funerals or spew hate speech. You cant yell "fire" in a crowded theater and you should not be allowed to protest at funerals. Alito was the only Judge who displayed any understanding of the Law. Recall the other 7 Judges and put in place Judges who listen to the American People - and not Psychopath Churches. As usual - Obama is silent on this matter.

Posted by: KevinDunne | March 3, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

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