Westboro Baptist Church Funeral Protests Protected by First Amendment, Supreme Court Rules

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The controversial activities of the Westboro Baptist Church culminated in a near-unanimous Supreme Court decision in March 2011. Snyder v. Phelps (U.S. 2011). In an 8-to-1 ruling, the Court held that Westboro members could not be held liable for the emotional distress caused by their demonstration at the funeral of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, a 20-year-old soldier killed in Iraq. According to the Court, regardless of how offensive the protestors’ activities may be, they are fully protected by the First Amendment.

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