Funeral-Picketing Case Heard

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A few sketches from today’s Supreme Court arguments in Snyder v. Phelps.  Fred W. Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church, whose members are primarily family, have a practice of picketing the funerals of dead soldiers with signs reading “Thank God for Dead Soldiers,” “Fag Troops” and “God Hates You”.  The father of one of those fallen soldiers, Lance Cpl Matthew Snyder, sued the church in court and won, but the judgement was overturned on appeal.  The lawyer representing the bereaved father – Sean Summers, pictured below and above – began his argument : “We’re talking about a funeral. Mr. Snyder simply wanted to bury his son in a private, dignified manner”

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On the other side, with the bigots, is the 1st Amendment freedom of speech.  Numerous news organizations and First Amendment organizations filed briefs supporting the Kansas church.  Arguing the free speech side was the daughter of the church’s pastor, Margie Phelps, pictured below.

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After the argument Ms. Phelps predicted her side would win. “They’re going to uphold the law of the land that you may express a contrary view in a public forum without being sued.”

Dahlia Lithwick sums it up best here.

 

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About

Courtartist is me, Art Lien. I've been sketching the courts since 1976, and for most of that time the U.S. Supreme Court has been my regular beat. I've been working almost exclusively for NBC News since 1980. Courtroom sketching is a form of visual journalism or reportage drawing that is slowly dying out. Where once upon a time news organization each had their own artist covering a story, today a "pool" artist often sketches for all. It is a demanding and stressful discipline where the drawing is often done directly and under tight deadline.

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Posted in Arguments, Supreme Court
One comment on “Funeral-Picketing Case Heard
  1. underalms says:

    David Savage of the Tribune Washington Bureau (in the LA Times) had some great coverage, too.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/sc-dc-1006-court-funerals-web-20101006,0,3870903.story

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