The recent Supreme Court case which swung in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church was the latest challenge to the first amendment right to free speech. The Supreme Court voted in favor of the WBC 8-1.

The case, Syder v. Phelps, came after the father of a fallen marine felt he was harassed by Fred Phelps and his gang. Phelps picketed outside the funeral of the dead soldier shouting obscenities and other hurtful messages.

There are many very similar cases which have previously challenged the right to free speech. The 1969 court case of Brandenburg v. Ohio is a prime example of how extreme speech can be protected under the right to free speech. The 1969 case included a Klu Klux Klan leader who invited a local television reporter to cover the Klan’s rally. The message delivered by Klansman was indeed hurtful and was very similar to the noxious remarks made by the WBS.

The Supreme Court ruled that though the speech was obscene and hurtful, it wasn’t directed to inciting and likely to incite imminent lawless action.

In the more recent WBC case, Roberts held that the distasteful message cannot influence the message: “Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and — as it did here — inflict great pain. On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker.”

We live in a country where no matter how ridiculous or extreme you may be your rights will always be intact. But who is paying the price for that never-ending freedom?

The very people who defend those rights are the ones who are paying the price. The fallen men and women who have given their lives for the very people who now shout obscene remarks at their funerals are the ones who suffer from our first amendment right to free speech.

I have to say that as a technically thinking person there is no doubt that the actions taken by the Phelps gang is protected under the right to free speech, but as a realistic and emotionally minded being, I think it ought to be constitutionally wrong.

The job of the Supreme Court justices is to interpret the constitution and uphold a quality of life for all citizens of America. I am strongly in favor of federally outlawing the Phelps family from staging these heinous protests. I believe the actions of the WBC are infringing on the rights of the dead soldiers and their families.

The father of the slain marine sued the small Kansas based church on the grounds of harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The stage on which the Phelps choose to hold their protest is indeed a intentional infliction of emotional distress.

I believe the WBC has every right to have their message herd, as sick and distasteful as it is, they do have the right to be heard, but the broadcast of their message should not come at the expense of  emotional unstable family members.

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