Freedom of Speech or Invasion of Privacy?

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:01 AM by Ava M. Dixon

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The Supreme Court’s 2010 session opened at the beginning of the month.  On October 6, 2010, the Supreme Court will hear arguments about a First Amendment Free Speech/Harassment issue. 

In 2007, Albert Snyder, a father of a Marine, who died while on duty in Iraq, brought suit against the Westboro Baptist Church for invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy, after the church protested at the Marine’s funeral.   Mr. Snyder was awarded $11 million in damages initially, but that amount was later reduced to just over $5 million.  In 2008, the church appealed the decision to the 4th District, and the decision was reversed based on a violation of the freedom of speech of the church members. 

The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments over whether this is a question of harassment or violation of first amendment rights.  Mr. Snyder and his attorney argue that this is a harassment issue rather than a free speech issue.  Mr. Snyder says the Westboro Church invaded his right to properly bury his son by staging protests at the funeral and by using his son’s name to further express the church’s beliefs.  The Westboro Church says that the First Amendment gives them the right to express their beliefs anywhere, including a funeral.   

The outcome of this decision is not expected until closer to the end of the term.

Tell us what you think…is this freedom of speech or invasion of privacy?

1 Comment »

  1. Tahmika said,

    November 1, 2010 at 5:54 PM

    I think that this is what is wrong with America now. Yes, there are some things that people do not do because of legal repercussions but, what about morality? Do we as a human race have any morals, sympathy and/or even empathy anymore? This family has lost a loved one fighting for this country and this is the treatment they get! Yes you have a right to certain freedoms in this country, thanks to people like this fallen soldier, to make statements and protest at a funeral, so sad?!? What is even sadder is this was a church that did this, I have always been taught by the church that funerals were to be a celebration of life and the going home of the deceased as ‘to be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord’, so what can be said of this churches thought process?

    Saddened by what America has and continues to become

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