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”
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.
Dahlia Lithwick sums it up best here.