Snyder Vs. Phelps From 2006: Westboro Baptist Church

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Analytical Research Paper The case Snyder vs Phelps from 2006 deals with the Westboro Baptist church, which protests at military funerals to express free-speech in the form of protests. Fred Phelps and others church members went to Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder’s funeral to protest their religious views. When protesting Fred Phelps and his followers did not disrupt the funeral at all and it wasn’t until Lance Corporal Snyder’s father and friends watched the media that night that a problem occurred. Fred Phelps did call ahead and let authorities know of their arrival. The 2006 Supreme Court case “Snyder vs Phelps” ruled eight to one verdict and does not restrict First Amendment rights by ruling the church’s freedom of speech constitutional. The case, Snyder vs Phelps, started at …show more content…

This case traveled from the Maryland State Court to the Court of Appeals and then finally to the Supreme Court. Snyder began the case when he sued Phelps and his church to the “United States District Court for the District of Maryland under that court’s diversity jurisdiction” (Snyder v. Phelps 2). This District Court decided that Westboro must pay $2.9 million for compensatory damages and another $8 million on intended damages (Snyder v. Phelps 3). This court then revised their decision, after Westboro asked for post-trial motions and changed the intended damages to $2.1 million dollars (Snyder v. Phelps 3). The jury verdict stayed the same so then this case then went to the Court of Appeals (Snyder v. Phelps 3). While in the Court of Appeals, Phelps’s argument was that the First Amendment protected their judgment. Court of Appeals agreed to Westboro’s primary argument that the church was entitled to judgment as a matter of law because the First Amendment protects Westboro’s speech. The Court says the picket signs were also protected under the First Amendment, because the statements deal with public concern. The jury could not find Westboro

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