Thursday, March 3, 2011

Update on comments about Snyder v Phelps

As expected, the comments on Snyder v Phelps keep coming in. Go here for my previous post and here are a few new links: In the New York Times "Room for Debate" Six scholars discuss "when free speech feels wrong." The Wall Street Journal law blog has an article here. Finally, SCotUS blog offers this summary of the latest: The Court’s opinion in Snyder, a case the Washington Post’s Robert Barnes predicts is “likely to define the Term,” has produced a deluge of coverage and commentary. By a vote of eight to one, the Court held that the First Amendment shields from tort liability individuals who stage a peaceful protest on a matter of public concern near the funeral of a military service member. Chief Justice Roberts wrote the majority opinion, Justice Breyer filed a concurring opinion, and Justice Alito, the lone dissenter, filed a dissenting opinion. The opinions are available here. SCOTUSblog’s Tom Goldstein calls the decision “a resounding affirmation of the right to engage peacefully in speech, even terribly hurtful speech, on matters of public import,” and the editorial boards of many major newspapers and most commentators seem to support the outcome. But the sentiment was certainly not shared by all. Mark Sherman of the Associated Press highlights Justice Alito’s dissent — “his second solo dissent in a free-speech case in as many years” — as elevating “privacy over free speech.” Katie Couric of CBS News interviews Albert Snyder, who believes that yesterday was “a sad day for our military men and women, and their families,” and “a sad day for all Americans.” Devin Dwyer of ABC News reports that leaders of the Westboro Baptist Church have “vowed to ‘quadruple’ the number of protests at military funerals around the country” in light of the Court’s ruling, but Joan Biskupic and Kevin Johnson of USA Today note that “veterans groups and other opponents [are] vowing to step up efforts to block church followers from demonstrating at high-profile funerals and interfering with grieving military families.” The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, the Baltimore Sun, the Boston Herald, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Kansas City Star, Fox News, the WSJ Law Blog, NPR, Reuters, The BLT, CNN, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Reuters, TIME, The Atlantic, JURIST, ACSBlog, Concurring Opinions,, Constitutional Law Prof Blog, Courthouse News Service, and FIRE, are just some of the media outlets and blogs that have additional coverage of, and commentary on, the decision.

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