So that means everyone one of those families that lost soldiers have a right to wait for that one of that church's members of congregations funeral and picket, trash talk, and pretty much disrespect and ruin that day of rememberance.
I realize this conversation is more than a month cold, but I wanted to chime in since I felt it got off on the wrong foot to start.
The original poster said:
Ok, I'm not the most politically active person in the world, but this ruling gave me a double take. How the hell do 8 out of 9 judges agree that westboro can picket and blast soldier's names at the time and location of their funerals? How is it that their right to free speech to trash talk soldier's deaths in a middle of a funeral is more important than the right of the families and friends to honor and remember their lost loved ones?
CUT BY POINTLESS DIGRESSION
But that's not what happened at the protest. At all.
The court ruled that, since the protests happened peacefully and in a public space at a non-disruptive distance from the funeral -- and since, quote, "speech on public issues occupies the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values and is entitled to special protection" -- the original judgment against them could not stand.
They were in a public place. They were not violent; they were not disruptive; they were not invasive. Yes, they picketed a funeral. They picketed a funeral from 1,000 feet away -- so far away that the plaintiff didn't even know they were there until he heard about it on the news the next day.
I'm going to say that last part again, because it deserves special emphasis. The plaintiff didn't even know they were there. Until he heard about it on the news. The next day.
The emotional upset wasn't brought on by the funeral being protested. It was brought on simply by hearing about it on the news the next day, and knowing that the protests had happened at all. If the protests had happened in the next street, or the next town, or the next state, the effect would have been the same.
So I'm agreeing with the Supreme Court on this one. I don't see it as a victory for the WBC, but for the 1st Amendment.
Thanks to Greta Christina, whose blog post I lifted shamelessly from in order to build this reply.