My opinion of Snyder V. Phelps et al is like Alito’s sole dissent. The opinions can be found here.
For me, essentially, the issue is who is in danger of, or actually, abridging the speech of who? The expression of the funeral, or the expression of the protesters. Both dislike each other, but one comes to the other, and can speak anywhere else but near the funeral; whereas the funeral is scheduled of its own accord and volition.
Clearly, to me, the speech of the Phelps abridges the preparation for the speech of the funeral, mitigating the readying and anticipating and ritual of people who should be expected to be engaging in this expression on the way in, without being subject to disturbance damaging that intake: Or on the way out digesting and settling the resonance of funeral speech and rite. Both entry and exit, anticipating, whetting, and digesting, settling, exiting, are consistent with the point of funeral expression, and very protected from abridgement by other speech that can make its expression anywhere it does not harm people actively engaged in specifically what the hate speech hates. (Free speech oft falsely portrayed as offensive. It really is not. Even if you are saying God is killing our soldiers for our sin of homosexuality, you can gentle say God is Powerful, Man is weak in comparison, Homosexuality is unpleasant and mind-controlled, not natural. Those things Can be said without hatred, and sound OK) Saying good bye has a duration to humanity not nearly limited to specifically being within the church. This is very simple to me, to protect the speech of a funeral, of unhindered anticipation on the way in, and mood and focus on the way out, strikes me as one of the necessary duties of good government, and honest men. On behalf of everyone, as we all die, it is up to the Phelps to not abridge the speech of the funeral. Funeral speech is more ancient than any speech; death leads to the one great thing to say; little else is more compelling of speech and expression: death is the great equalizer, and truth.
The majority makes the mistake protecting the Phelps because their issue is a public issue and political debate is encouraged. There is no mention of the particularized vital need for funeral speech, as ultimately a commentary on all politics and debate by the court. The majority may be assumed to outrank funeral speech with public speech: but no one is stopping public speech, they may make it anywhere as long as it doesn’t impede the procession in and out of the funeral place; so no one is stopping public speech; there is just a complete failure to recognize the speech of the funeral as greater than public debate, in that it effects more people more deeply than the hate speech of the Westboro Baptist church.
Public speech is high, no one is stopping it either, just near people listening to an even higher speech, acknowledging the kingdom of god in funeral speech, a funeral as it is true, pure, is higher and more solemn, and the failure of the supreme court to note this, is symptomatic of a flaw.
Truly protecting this nation, acknowledges spiritual truths, such as movements of the kingdom of god. What the government fails to acknowledge is that funerals acknowledge the kingdom of god, however it is understood, to thoughtful minds and sentient feelings. The funeral is a great speech of public concern, consoling and truthful, solemn and dealing.
Saying the Phelps’ speech does not hurt, that speech is ok precisely because it is merely speech and speaking on an issue, in this case, gays in the military, and therefore is legitimate: And being near the funeral merely to reach broad an audience as possible? As if freedom of speech protects not just the speech, but the right to as broad an audience as possible? An almost ludicrous proposition, impairing traditional understandings of the real politic that rights are contingent upon behaviors and situations and do not exist solely upon themselves. The Phelps could speak in a park, or on a commercial street, far away from the funeral‘s time and place, the speech itself isn‘t in question: where and when is. To ground that concern in a right to fan the flames of the press takes free speech expressly near a new and frontiering range requiring specific, central and deliberate adjudication? We can not allow anyone to get publicity by doing anything anywhere: that’s not the point, nor real politic, nor traditional understanding, rights are grounded in behavior, and context.
But is the Phelps speech hateful? “God hates Fags” “Thank God for dead soldiers”, that is undeniably hateful and hurtful, rather than debating and issue oriented: for the arbitrary condemnation, does not explain why it is so: merely the feelings, of errant protagonists in this tragedy. Free speech must rank analytical commentary over invective, as communication. It makes a difference if things are said differently, gently; as in “God does not want people hurting themselves in the Ass” There, the objection to homosexuality explained.
Does it hurt or impair? The thoughts provoked seem so, so biting in condemning Snyder in heaven, as to impair the effect of the funeral. To waste energy deflecting hatred rather than reason, renders speech by style, not content, as well.
According to Chief Justice Roberts, “ The signs reflected Westboro’s condemnation of much in modern society, and it cannot be argued Westboro’s use of speech on public issues was in any way contrived to insulate a personal attack on Snyder from liability.”
Is this true? Aren’t they rather trying to publicize contriving through the press, rather than honest open area? Are they genuinely not marring the funeral, but speaking on a public issue? Because if they are speaking on a public issue then they are not trying to hurt. But “God hates fags” is a personal attack, and not explaining logic or attempting to, a slogan, more than speech, especially since forgiving is based on an awareness of the Kingdom of God. One can’t listen to a funeral, then pass that sign and not have the effect of funeral speech abridged, and the effect of speech, is speech, undoubtedly; one can not disrupt the listener, that is essential to free speech. Even as the hate speech in the media eye isn’t asserting itself, but being against the funeral. I can’t head to funeral, pass those signs, and expect to settle back and enjoy the consolation of panegyric intent. And it is surprising the funeral experiences of the justices do not encompass that activity and sensation. And is there any evidence Gods hatred of fags is not really more logically great sympathy for “fags”?
There is too much collateral damage for this right to hate speech near funerals to exist; same as there may be collateral damage to not searching suspicious knapsacks at subways, or searching people before getting on a train. Speaking on an issue without this collateral damage can only be done in discriminating a place far from the funeral. Then the emphasis is on speech of the funeral, and speech on the issue of Westboro. These people are like drowning out a play.
You can not say, as Roberts does, that speech may be hurtful, but that is OK; when the experience of the funeral may be ruined, and that expression wasted. There is absolutely no recognition or protection or definition of funeral speech as including its prelude of individual preparation, and denouement that absorbs the thought of panegyric expression. Both sides can speak and feel sensations. How can one do so at the expense of the other, is beyond me. It is like setting up a maypole outside a church while the church is in session, impeding people leaving, as the followers of Baal used to do in Rome.
All issue-oriented activist including myself, must be distinguished by the press, to gain that limelight, and as Alito points out, there are numerous naval bases, and naval offices, where such protest may be displayed on funeral days. Their attraction to the press is grounded in hate and hurt, not public debate at all. The majority fails to distinguish it is not the speech that is outrageous, but its proximity to people it hurts. Nor is the logic that death and god is at a different level and metaphysic than material earth with its homosexuals. For as death parts marriage, so there is no homosexuality in heaven, and any allowance of it on earth, a metaphysic rather than truth.
Snyder also may not recover for the tort of intrusion upon seclusion. He argues that he was a member of a captive audience at his son’s funeral, but the captive audience doctrine—which has been applied sparingly, see Rowan v. Post Office Dept., 397 U. S. 728, 736– 738; Frisby, supra, at 484–485—should not be expanded to the circumstances here. Westboro stayed well away from the memorial service, Snyder could see no more than the tops of the picketers’ signs, and there is no indication that the picketing interfered with the funeral service itself. Pp. 13–14.
This is entirely wrong and crude and insensitive, first of all this case is not just for Snyder: Anyone has a right to not have their stomach churned at funeral, nor think the lingering wisps stained by hatred on the way out. There is also no mention that it is hate. No mention they are playing for the press. No mention they are AIMED at the funeral service, and only unable to hit it more directly because of police. Asserting a lack of disruption is like saying the threat of war or danger offers no anxiety. This cheapens the expression of the funeral, making it not free, but enslaved to pathological notions of a totality to public debate, the supreme court is invested in as nine people having so much power over millions.
The constitution is inclusive of rights. That means it is meant to protect the people, as the case for government includes. Placing protests a thousand feet from funeral speech misunderstands that funeral speech predates free speech, historically, funeral rites, were the emblem of society and what life was formed around.
The court is under a code whereby there is an oath to tell truth, yet the truth of the kingdom of god never acknowledged, so maybe the implicit inherent acknowledgement of The Kingdom of God by funerals, fundamentally treads upon the errant sensibility of what claims today. The whole issue of a funeral: what is and what is not, what appeared and we say bye to, in context of what we must know; somehow that central important expression and thought is not an issue to the justices and has no relation to the public eye. Indeed these are just public issues, the press does not consider or place in the public realm, and what the courts had a chance to free themselves regarding and assert, today.
Alito is much nicer and protective and from N.J. as well. The connection between my views and him, may stem from the oppressed nature of our state leading to a greater sympathy for the oppressed, or some pagan like connection.
Alito: Petitioner Albert Snyder is not a public figure. He is simply a parent whose son, Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, was killed in Iraq. Mr. Snyder wanted what is surely the right of any parent who experiences such an incalculable loss: to bury his son in peace. But respondents, members of the Westboro Baptist Church, deprived him of that elementary right. They first issued a press release and thus turned Matthew’s funeral into a tumultuous media event. They then appeared at the church, approached as closely as they could without trespassing, and launched a malevolent verbal attack on Matthew and his family at a time of acute emotional vulnerability
That is IT, furthermore:
“Baptist Church’s publicity-seeking strategy. Their press release stated that they were going “to picket the funeral of Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder” because “God Almighty killed Lance Cpl. Snyder. He died in shame, not honor— for a fag nation cursed by God . . . . Now in Hell—sine die.” Supp. App. in No. 08–1026 (CA4), p. 158a. This announcement guaranteed that Matthew’s funeral would be transformed into a raucous media event and began the wounding process. It is well known that anticipation may heighten the effect of a painful event.“
“The real significance of these new laws (state laws Maryland enacted since to protect funerals) is not that they obviate the need for IIED protection. Rather, their enactment dramatically illustrates the fundamental point that funerals are unique events at which special protection against emotional assaults is in order. At funerals, the emotional well-being of bereaved relatives is particularly vulnerable yes” Way to go Alito.
We can not go through this analysis and ask ourselves why 8 supreme court members missed the right and rites of an panegyric expression to include arriving to and leaving from, as containing vital preparation and mental ritual, as well as that the digestion and settling of the funeral is terribly vital and necessary for the point of the funeral expression to work; this omission, why? Ultimately my view is about protecting speech from speech protesting its speech: a civil protection. The exigent decision could be compared to allowing the enforcement of readers of my essays to read a first and final paragraph disparaging me. Why can’t the court rank the right of speech of a funeral above the right of speech of hate and condemnation, a speech that doesn’t recognize the equalizer of death, nor death’s casting off of appearance, such as homosexuality, as per the next world? The remarkably unsophisticated world we live in is illuminated.
The answer is the government, and press, is unnaturally biased against spiritual understanding and spirituality and that is what funeral speech really is: however you call it, funerals, I believe, assert the kingdom of god, and somehow that makes everything more OK and what it is. The Kingdom of God, however a spirituality understands it, as the being, as denied, as fallen, as less, as subject of, is anathema to a government projected on that complete opposite, a two dimensional world on paper, and not the three dimensional reality about, to apprehend.
If the government interpreted “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” in a simpler more honest form i.e.: if congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, then it may make a law disrespecting an establishment of religion, otherwise they would have used the word “abridge” as towards other rights. What is so hard to believe that there might be an evil religion out to oppress people, even through law they impose on a people? Seems like a classical fear. That is all the first part of the clause is meant to signify. And Congress has been very respectful to religions and haven’t abused them. And the second part, “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” just means people may apply what they have learned from religion, to their life, or job; indeed that is point of many religions, to help individuals in the world of sin.
So it is the unfair and gigantic legal misapprehended bias against spirituality that unconsciously drives the mind of most of the supreme court here. This bias is stronger than their mind; because it is reinforced most graciously in a press that chooses to ignore and deny and disparage spiritual reality, at the same time pretending to be speaking the great truth. No, the great truth is that the press, and all of us, are lying, earth has fallen: those are the solemn tones; very close to the ones for individual death.
But I ask again, why can’t the court apprehend a religion might be evil; and that most religions are good. Because the press does not recognize or even give forum to these claims, of the truth of The Kingdom of God, and that is more pressing upon adjudication, than free analysis. Because unless you firmly perceive journalists as in over their head, the daily dominance of expression they project is falsely perceived and influencing, whereas an awareness of the critical absence of The Kingdom of God in journalism, renders their expression moot.
Free speech is not brutal, really, it’s speech, and if it is brutal, it is not particular.