Friday, March 04, 2011

Snyder v. Phelps
Funeral Protesting - Bad
First Amendment SLAPP Defense - Good

This week the Supreme Court announced its decision in Snyder v. Phelps, holding that the Westboro Baptist Church has a First Amendment right to picket funerals even if the picketing is calculated to cause emotional distress.

With this decision, the Supreme Court is sending a signal that first amendment protection shields speech-based conduct from intentional tort liability under theories other than defamation cases. I remember being ridiculed in law school when I suggested that the First Amendment was just as logically a defense to outrage and tortuous interference cases as it was to defamation. It looks like the law is finally coming around my way. I did think the "fighting words" doctrine might hold up a little better, though.

Serious post or excuse for a marginally relevant video? Are they really mutually exclusive? I'm tired. It's late. I'll let Michael Moore show you how to take on Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church.

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