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LJWorld.com weblogs 4th Circuits Court of Appeals Supports Phelps

I can't believe this happened

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From Yahoo AP News. "2 hrs 58 mins ago BALTIMORE – The father of a Marine killed in Iraq and whose funeral was picketed by anti-gay protesters was ordered to pay the protesters' appeal costs, his lawyers said Monday. On Friday, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ordered Snyder to pay $16,510 to Fred Phelps. Phelps is the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, which conducted protests at Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder's funeral in 2006. The two-page decision supplied by attorneys for Albert Snyder of York, Pa., offered no details on how the court came to its decision. Attorneys also said Snyder is struggling to come up with fees associated with filing a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court. The decision adds "insult to injury," said Sean Summers, one of Snyder's lawyers. The high court agreed to consider whether the protesters' message is protected by the First Amendment or limited by the competing privacy and religious rights of the mourners."


I hope SCOTUS comes out on the side of the Snyders. Does anyone know if a defense fund has been established for the Snyders? Perhaps people should demonstrate outside the Westboro Baptist Church daily.

Comments

Ralph Reed 4 years ago

I seldom agree with what O'Reilly says and definitely his on-air behavior towards people who have the audacity to disagree with him.

That being said, I heartily commend him for his generosity. Well done.


@LibertyOne, You said, "... part of believing in free speech is tolerating speech you don't want to hear. We hear constant malicious speech against Sarah Palin, but I don't think I've ever seen a right winger say the protesters should be silenced. If you can decide what other people can put on their signs or screech at protests, so can Fred Phelps. Also, if the government can tell Fred Phelps what to put on his signs or screech, the government can do the same to you." ** There are differences and you know it. Phelps and his cult/clan is downright filthy and in your face, right up against those who are suffering the most. I doubt any protesters can get close enough to Palin to for her to hear anything. This is similar to protests against Pres GW Bush being relegated to streets far away from his appearance.

The location and Phelps clan/cult affects on the grieving is what is at stake here, not what Phelps at al put on their signs or scream. Your argument that the government is going to decide what you can write on a sign or say does not hold water. That has already been done (see "Shouting 'Fire' in a crowded theater.").

As a self-avowed Libertarian, I'm surprised you don't support that Phelps and his cult/clan can have their freedoms up until they infringe upon others, in this case those of the Snyder family. You seem to be supporting Phelps' rights to verbally abuse over the Snyder's rights to peaceful assembly and their freedom of speech.

Which would you rather have happen: that the matter be settled in a court of law; or that the matter be settled by a Peacemaker? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colt_Sin...)

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denak 4 years ago

I commend Bill O'Reilly for this act of generosity.

Unfortunately, I heard that Phelps and gang will be picketing the funeral of another young Marine in Florida this Friday. What a sleezeball.

Dena

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Roland Gunslinger 4 years ago

Update on this. Bill O'Reilly, on his show last night, offered to pay the $16K+ judgement for the Snyder family.

What a great gesture on his part.

http://www.wbal.com/absolutenm/templates/story.aspx?articleid=48750&zoneid=2

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Liberty275 4 years ago

"And puh-leeze... there isn't ONE gay person out there who takes exception to their slander and is willing to sue them? The damned ACLU would represent them for nothing."

Phelps' rhetoric is to vague to prove slander. Until he targets specific individuals with a lie and a disinterested third party could make the connection between the words and the specific individual, he's in the clear. As for being sued by a gay person, even if that person was irrefutably identified like "Joe Harold Smith Jr is gay", there could be no suit because truth is an absolute defense against slander.

Phelps is a pretty slippery eel.

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Liberty275 4 years ago

What about the family's right under the first amendment? The right to peaceably assemble and the right to exercise their religion?"

I take it the family of the brave marine themselves were peaceable and indeed assembled and exercised their right to their religious belief. I don't know the facts of the case, but I'll accept that they were and did.

"peaceably grieve the lost of a loved on." Not a bad argument. There are zoning and trespass laws to keep the wackos at a distance to assure peaceable congregation. But as long as the wackos are in the permitted area, they are within their rights. They are subject to noise laws as well. It's not a bad argument, not because of Phelp's action, but because the authority that issued the permit may have allowed them too close. It's a good argument, but it's one that can turn around and bite you when you apply for a permit to protest Sarah Palin sending stealth bombers with bunker busters over Iran. You could find yourselves shoved into the alley behind the strip mall at 23rd and Louisiana and not on the sidewalk in front.

"It's pure malice."

Yes, but that doesn't make it any less protected. Vertigo, part of believing in free speech is tolerating speech you don't want to hear. We hear constant malicious speech against Sarah Palin, but I don't think I've ever seen a right winger say the protesters should be silenced. If you can decide what other people can put on their signs or screech at protests, so can Fred Phelps. Also, if the government can tell Fred Phelps what to put on his signs or screech, the government can do the same to you.

"I can't believe they haven't been brought up on charges of child abuse. At one event they had their children... SMALL children.... out front demonstrating sex acts with each other. "

If the acts happened and charges weren't filed by any prosecutor with jurisdiction, then that might offer a clue as to whether a well-trained attorney thinks the charges would stand up in court. Go out and videotape the actions. Now would be a good time while you have a sympathetic US AG. Maybe you can be the one to take Phelps down.

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geekyhost 4 years ago

I doubt you'll find a single person who agrees with him or his actions, but if they're gathered in a public cemetery, he may well still have a case that he had a right to be there, too. I'm not a lawyer or a judge, so I'm not in charge of deciding. And yes, I agree that the only reason he's there is to be emotionally abusive to strangers. He's truly vile.

BTW - I totally agree on the child abuse. According to a couple of his own kids, he was quite physically abusive to all of them. There's no excuse for getting kids to demonstrate sex acts. But I suspect nobody in Topeka wants to deal with his lawsuits, even if he'd lose them all.

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satie 4 years ago

I can't believe they haven't been brought up on charges of child abuse. At one event they had their children... SMALL children.... out front demonstrating sex acts with each other. And puh-leeze... there isn't ONE gay person out there who takes exception to their slander and is willing to sue them? The damned ACLU would represent them for nothing.

Donation sent.

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Roland Gunslinger 4 years ago

Also what "dissenting opinion" about "Thank God For Dead Soldiers"? Or "Thank God for IEDs" ? Or "God Killed Your Son"?

It's speech purely to invoke emotional pain on those already grieving. There's no opinion in that at all. It's pure malice.

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Roland Gunslinger 4 years ago

Dissenting opinion can be heard, but not at the expense of families right to peaceably assemble, practice their religion (1st Amendment rights) and grieve the lost of a loved on.

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TrooGrit 4 years ago

I am ashamed of the court's decision, in this matter. The Phelps deserve nothing, except for overwhelming contempt for their manipulation of the 1st amendment to justify the ugliest and most vile form of communication imaginable!

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geekyhost 4 years ago

Setting up counter donation booths with postcards is full of win. I think this should be the approach from now on.

And as much as I despise despise despise them, freedom of speech is only freedom of speech if dissenting opinions get to be heard, too.

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Roland Gunslinger 4 years ago

Liberty275 (anonymous) says… His son died protecting the rights of the Phelps waxkos. The father should be proud, not trying to trample the document his son took an oath to defend.


What about the family's right under the first amendment? The right to peaceably assemble and the right to exercise their religion? The Phelps were hindering both of these rights.

Also correction to my previous statement. The Snyder's were initially awarded $5M not $500K.

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Roland Gunslinger 4 years ago

gccs14r (anonymous) says… Sounds like the Phelpses were sued, won, and won again on appeal.


Wrong, the Phelps were sued.and lost. The Snyder's were initially awarded $500,000. That judgement got overturned on appeal and now it's headed to SCOTUS.

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Cait McKnelly 4 years ago

In re: to funerals; it seems the only way to defeat the Phelps is to provide a wall of people 10 deep between them and the funeral along with a brass band to drown out their hate. Bless the Freedom Riders and their campaign to push the Phelps to the back 40.

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Liberty275 4 years ago

His son died protecting the rights of the Phelps waxkos. The father should be proud, not trying to trample the document his son took an oath to defend. Hopefully enough people will help him with his legal fund so he can pay the bill without going broke. It's a sad situation on all levels.

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gccs14r 4 years ago

Sounds like the Phelpses were sued, won, and won again on appeal. That would be a reason why Mr. Snyder has to pay. Never sue a Phelps. That's how they make their money. If the SCOTUS rules that it's a First Amendment issue, Mr. Snyder will also be out those costs, and a SCOTUS ruling of First Amendment protection will shut down all protest suits against the Phelpses in perpetuity. Be careful what you wish for.

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porch_person 4 years ago

1029,

Even as a joke, now's not the time.

"Matthew Snyder, of Finksburg, Maryland, died from a non combat-related vehicle accident in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to Combat Service Support Group-1, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, California. Died on March 3, 2006. Matthew was 20 years old." ---- http://www.matthewsnyder.org/

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1029 4 years ago

Isn't this Snyder fellow the guy who slashed the tires on the Phelpsmobile and kicked off one of the side mirrors? I can see $16,500 maybe being the cost of the damage.

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porch_person 4 years ago

I'm right behind Jessie in line. Donation in the pipeline.

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porch_person 4 years ago

Oh, this pisses me off. This is complete and utter BS. Beyond complete and utter BS.

This is so wrong.

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Ralph Reed 4 years ago

Someone asked for a link to the article I quoted. Here's the one on Yahoo. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100329/ap_on_re_us/us_funeral_protests_2

Here's what I got for a search on Yahoo: http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news?p=snyder+phelps&ei=UTF-8

Hope that helps.


Thanks for the link Dena to the Matthew Snyder Website.

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parrothead8 4 years ago

Perhaps all former Marines in Kansas should gather in "protest" around Phelps' church every Sunday.

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denak 4 years ago

Oh &&^*&^, I screwed that up. Shoot and I posted the same thing on my Facebook page.

Yes, it is www.matthewsnyder.org.

Thanks for the catch.

Dena

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Christine Anderson 4 years ago

Yes, it is time Fred get a dose of his own medicine, only not in the same flavor. What I mean is, everyone who can should protest peacefully as close to WBC as possible. I saw a video of a young man in Chicago who used WBC's protests as a way to raise money for the groups Phelps is targeting. Get this, the guy is sending thank you cards to WBC for each donation made to counter their hate. WBC was recently in San Francisco protesting "Fiddler On The Roof". OY! Counter protesters stood nearby holding ridiculous, funny signs, and drawing attention away from the Phelps' group. Returning to the subject of the Yahoo article, can anyone find out why this Marine's family was ordered to pay WBC's fees? What did Phred do that caused him to incur legal fees, and how did the Marine's family become involved?

May Phred fall into a nice, lush patch of poison ivy!

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denak 4 years ago

As a former Marine, legal enthusiast and as a Christian, I am appalled by the court's decision.

If you would like to help, please go to www.albertsnyder.org where you can make a donation to help Matthew's parents defray the court cost.

Semper Fidelis, Matthew.

Dena

P.S. They also have a Facebook account.

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