In re Snyder v. Phelps, the Supreme Court ruled in Phelps' favor. He's the founder and pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church, coming to us, I believe, out of Topeka, Kansas. He and his rowdy band can contine to hurl epithets and wave offensive signs (e.g., "Thank God for Dead Soldiers," "God hates fags") at soldiers' funerals. Local ordinances can keep them a certain distance from the scene, but they can't be made to shut up. Mr. Snyder was initially awarded several millions in damages for "invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress," (sounds like a tort claim that could only be upheld, I presume, by denying WBC's right to free speech) but that was overturned by the next court up and every court thereafter.
The case was argued before the Supreme Court on Phelps' behalf, successfully, by his daughter Margie, a member of the flock and an attorney. She thinks such things as that the explosion of the space shuttle Colombia and the mass murder of Americans on 9-11 were God's will. Whatever that means. One gets the sense she means "God's punishment." She also said of little 9 year old Christina Taylor Green, one of those murdered during the Tuscon shooting that wounded Congresswoman Giffords, that the child was better off dead, and her church wanted to picket that funeral too. (I don't know what stopped them.) Oh, and President Obama is going to hell, and is "most likely" the Beast spoken of in Revelation. Asked if she saw any difference between a fallen American soldier and the Al-Qaeda terrorist who kills innocents, she said that yes she did: the soldier is worse.
She may be right that America is rapidly spiraling down a hellhole, but for some reason this doesn't make me rejoice in the deaths of soldiers and 9 year old girls. Maybe I just don't read the Bible right, or adequately understand the beauty of free speech no matter how foul its form.
Margie Phelps' interview with Chris Wallace: