OT2010 Circus Watch
The Court today granted certiorari in Snyder v. Phelps, et al. Here’s Lyle Denniston from SCOTUSBlog:
The Supreme Court, taking on the emotionally charged issue of picketing protests at the funerals of soldiers killed in wartime, agreed Monday to consider reinstating a $5 million damages verdict against a Kansas preacher and his anti-gay crusade. [...]
The funeral picketing case (Snyder v. Phelps, et al., 09-751) focuses on a significant question of First Amendment law: the degree of constitutional protection given to private remarks made about a private person, occurring in a largely private setting.
If Lyle’s description and the name “Phelps” didn’t already set off your mental bells, let me put the question before the Court another way–with illustrative hyperlinks: is this speech by this preacher‘s congregation protected under the First Amendment?
In other words, I may have to dust off F1@1F next term for a special encore report from this case’s line.
UPDATE: Back in 2006, Molly McDonough of the ABA Journal–she’s now my overseer over there–wrote about the constitutionality of the state and federal laws enacted to keep Phelps’s folk away from soldiers’ funerals. Next term’s case is based on a common law tort’s damage award, not on any statutory command, but McDonough’s story is still well-worth revisiting.