Fred Phelps’s anti-American, anti-gay Kansas cult has earned nationwide condemnation for its sadistic homophobic protests at the internment services of martyred soldiers.
Today, the Phelps band has another feather in its cap, as the sect won its petition to the Supreme Court.
Albert Synder had sued his tormentors to stop their funeral disturbances after they disrupted the funeral of his son Matthew Synder, a fallen Marine.
The complaint tested the supposedly opposing constitutional protections of free speech vs. both privacy and protection from persecution and stalking.
The justices ruled 8-1 that constituents of Phelps’s Westboro Baptist Church had a right to advance what the court termed a sophisticated point on civic affairs like American wars.
Only Justice Alito dissented, arguing that Phelps’s mob has no right to assault private citizens.
Synder is now raising funds to afford Phelps’s legal fees, for which the hero’s family is now liable.
The Supreme Court has in the past found a way to ban cross burning as emotionally intimidating hate speech, despite the first amendment.
Yet it apparently cannot find a way to protect the privacy of mourning military families from a hate group out to inflict emotional pain on them by disturbing the peace of private funerals.
Black families in the south being harassed by the KKK are a protected class according to the court — and rightfully so. But those who have died in fighting for America’s interest can be persecuted by Fred Phelp’s hate cult with no legal recourse.
One wonders if the Supreme Court would dare uphold Phelps’s hateful proselytizing at funerals of black soldiers while carrying signs emblazoned with the ‘N-word’ and shouting racial slurs.
But this case involved gay slurs and US troops – and neither group is especially important, apparently.
This is one more ludicrous ruling from the Roberts Court, a court which has already erroneously declared that corporations are people and can make unlimited campaign contributions.
Now, this court has invented a ‘right to harass’ out of thin air. Is it time to declare the Roberts Court the worst in history?
There is no free speech right to bully, harass, assault, stalk, intimidate and distress private citizens at private funerals.
According to the Supreme Court, harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress are now legal in America – especially if the victims are dead soldiers and their loved ones.