Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Supreme Court to Hear Argument Against Funeral Protesters

UPDATE: Good news. Fox News talk host Bill O'Reilly has stepped in and said he will pay the entire $16,510 in court costs awarded to Phelps. Of course Snyder has his own legal expenses. Although lawyers are working the case pro bono, he still foots the bill for expenses and estimates he's sunk some $60K into this. The link to the box in the left is to Snyder's web page which tells how to help (monetarily and otherwise). Snyder has said that anything raised beyond covering court costs will go to benefit war veterans in the form of a scholarship.

I just about blew a gasket tonight when I read this story. I wish I could tell you how I really feel about this group. Unfortunately, what I would say might be construed illegal. See, this is all about free speech. But even free speech has its limits--you can't yell, "Fire" in a crowded theater, for example.

You also can't post on-line threats. The 2nd District court of appeals recently ruled a case could go forward where a 15-year-old student is accuse of posting that he would, "rip out your **** heart and feed it to you" and "pound your head in with an ice pick" on another student's web site.

So why is vile excuse for a human, Fred Phelps, and his band of idiots from the Kansas' Westboro Baptist Church allowed to disrupt families during a time of unbelievable grief of losing a soldier son or daughter? With the blasphemous garbage they spew, I'm somewhat surprised the Almighty hasn't hit the smite button or that a brigade of fellow Marines haven't gotten some street justice.

Albert Snyder, who had to endure one of Phelps "protests" during his funeral for his son, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder in 2006, took the legal path. He sued and he won.

Then a federal appeals court threw out the $5 million award against the protesters on first amendment grounds. But that wasn't the worst part. The same court then ordered Snyder to pay Fred Phelps $16,510 in court costs.

WTF? How can this be? This wasn't some frivolous case. Worse yet, now Phelps can go back to the first court and try to get THOSE court costs assessed against Snyder! Snyder, a man of modest means has a pro-bono lawyer, but his own costs have gone over $60K.

Snyder has said he is not paying the court-ordered fees. Not yet anyway--the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case. He spoke to Fox News about the case.

The suit was originally filed to, "...bring to an end to the reign of terror and abuse that they inflict." This is why I don't understand why the appeals court threw out the case on the first amendment. The first amendment does not give you the ability to HARASS people. The courts have certainly stood firm on that.

If this isn't harassment...I don't know what is. If you see Phelps, I'd stay clear in case of a thunderbolt...I have faith God's going to hit that smite button yet.

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