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CAC’s Wydra Weighs in on Controversial Free Speech Case <em>Snyder v. Phelps</em>
Today the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the controversial free speech case Snyder v. Phelps. WATCH CAC's Chief Counsel Elizabeth Wydra weigh in on NBC's Texas affiliate KTAL 6:
"It's a funeral for God's sake!" said Albert Snyder, Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder's Father.
The procession had to be re-routed and the SWAT team was called in when Reverend Fred Phelps brought his "Thank God For Dead Soldiers" protest to Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder's funeral in 2006.
"They turned it into a circus, a three-ring circus," said Snyder.
Snyder said it sent him into a deep depression.
"These people are terrorists. They terrorize innocent families," said Snyder.
A jury gave him 11 million dollars for emotional distress. But an appeals court overturned it saying the, 'Most Hated Family In America,' as one filmmaker called them, is protected by the First Amendment.
Funeral Protester Reverend Fred Phelps said, "He don't have to like my preaching and I've got a sneaking feeling that he don't. But I'm pretty dog-gone sure that I've got the right to preach it and he's got a right to object to it."
Today the Supreme Court will consider whether that right interfered with the right of a private citizen to practice his religion.
Elizabeth Wydra of the Constitutional Accountability Center said, "This is about whether or not you have to pay the price for inflicting distress on someone rather than the government fining you or preventing you from speaking in the first place."
The Westboro Baptist Church has protested some 200 military funerals…claiming God is killing American soldiers to punish the nation for embracing homosexuality.