The Circuit


Christina Wells

Publication Date



Volume 1


Since 2005, the Reverend Fred Phelps and other members of the Westboro Baptist Church have outraged almost everyone by protesting near military funerals. In Snyder v. Phelps the Supreme Court will finally decide whether that outrage is actionable. Few people will lose sleep if the Court finds that the First Amendment allows Albert Snyder to sue the Phelpses for intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy for protesting near his son's funeral. After all, their messages, including statements such as "Semper Fi Fags," "Thank God for Dead Soldiers," "America is Doomed," "God Hates the USA," "God Hates You," and "Pope in Hell" were objectionable and mean-spirited. Snyder must have viewed their speech as "an affront of the most egregious kind."