Update on the "God Hates Fags" Westboro Baptist Church Court Case

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    Apr 13, 2010 2:35 PM GMT
    Here's an update, with more discussion of some of the legal facts of the WBC case we recently discussed in another RJ thread. You may recall a father was ordered to pay the court costs for WBC after he lost his case against them for protesting his son's military funeral. It's now headed for the US Supreme Court. Based on some of the analysis in this article, it seems some legal experts expect WBC to win there, too.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36449471/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/
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    Apr 13, 2010 3:32 PM GMT
    WBC will win. The law will deny justice and if justice is to be served, it'll have to come from some other source.
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    Apr 13, 2010 3:34 PM GMT
    Bill O'Reilly Pays Fees for Father Suing Westboro Baptist Church
    Share: by Michael Small | March 31, 2010

    Bill O'Reilly to Pay Legal Fees for Albert Snyder, whose Marine Son's Funeral Was Protested by the Westboro Baptist Church

    O'Reilly says he will pay the $16,500 dollar legal fees Snyder is being forced to pay for suing the Westboro Baptist Church after they protested his Marine son's funeral.


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    Apr 13, 2010 3:37 PM GMT
    McGay saidWBC will win. The law will deny justice and if justice is to be served, it'll have to come from some other source.

    I can't think what that other source might be. It certainly won't come from the legislative, nor the judicial, and the executive has no authority in this. There are no legal means to restrain the WBC.
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    Apr 13, 2010 3:38 PM GMT
    PAstud21 saidBill O'Reilly Pays Fees for Father Suing Westboro Baptist Church
    Share: by Michael Small | March 31, 2010

    Bill O'Reilly to Pay Legal Fees for Albert Snyder, whose Marine Son's Funeral Was Protested by the Westboro Baptist Church

    O'Reilly says he will pay the $16,500 dollar legal fees Snyder is being forced to pay for suing the Westboro Baptist Church after they protested his Marine son's funeral.



    Why the hell would he do that?
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    Apr 13, 2010 3:40 PM GMT
    It's great that O'Reilly is doing that. While it doesn't bring justice, it softens the injustice played out against this man.

    Another source of justice, Red? Street justice needs only the right opportunity. Justice and legal have little to do with each other.
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    Apr 13, 2010 3:41 PM GMT
    SAHEM62896 saidWhy the hell would he do that?

    I think it's an admirable gesture. I don't agree with O'Reilly on many things, but this is an upstanding move on his part.
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    Apr 13, 2010 3:55 PM GMT
    http://www.nowpublic.com/world/bill-oreilly-pays-fees-father-suing-westboro-baptist-church-2599487.html
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    Apr 13, 2010 4:26 PM GMT
    mickeytopogigio said
    SAHEM62896 saidWhy the hell would he do that?

    I think it's an admirable gesture. I don't agree with O'Reilly on many things, but this is an upstanding move on his part.


    Well, I agree it's admirable, but motive is everything... and as much as I would like to believe that he is making as strong a statement against the WBC as a man in his position can, I think O'Reilly's just enough of an ego-maniac slime-bucket to try in some way to "call the tunes after paying the piper." I don't know how, but I just can't help wondering what's in this for him... which is what I really meant when I posted the question above.
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    Apr 13, 2010 4:34 PM GMT
    SAHEM62896 said
    mickeytopogigio said
    SAHEM62896 saidWhy the hell would he do that?

    I think it's an admirable gesture. I don't agree with O'Reilly on many things, but this is an upstanding move on his part.


    Well, I agree it's admirable, but motive is everything... and as much as I would like to believe that he is making as strong a statement against the WBC as a man in his position can, I think O'Reilly's just enough of an ego-maniac slime-bucket to try in some way to "call the tunes after paying the piper." I don't know how, but I just can't help wondering what's in this for him... which is what I really meant when I posted the question above.


    Once again REALITY: O'Reilly has been going after Westboro for a long long time. Also his ratings are VERY high and noone is even close so there is no motive other than to help a family out.icon_biggrin.gif
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    Apr 13, 2010 4:36 PM GMT
    PAstud21 said
    SAHEM62896 said
    mickeytopogigio said
    SAHEM62896 saidWhy the hell would he do that?

    I think it's an admirable gesture. I don't agree with O'Reilly on many things, but this is an upstanding move on his part.


    Well, I agree it's admirable, but motive is everything... and as much as I would like to believe that he is making as strong a statement against the WBC as a man in his position can, I think O'Reilly's just enough of an ego-maniac slime-bucket to try in some way to "call the tunes after paying the piper." I don't know how, but I just can't help wondering what's in this for him... which is what I really meant when I posted the question above.


    Once again REALITY: O'Reilly has been going after Westboro for a long long time. Also his ratings are VERY high and noone is even close so there is no motive other than to help a family out. O'Reilly is to commentary news that Judy Judy is to court tv and Oprah is to talk shows.icon_biggrin.gif
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    Apr 13, 2010 4:49 PM GMT
    Why would he do that? Great publicity, the gesture is cheap at 10 times the price.
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    Apr 13, 2010 5:13 PM GMT
    UrsaMajor saidWhy would he do that? Great publicity, the gesture is cheap at 10 times the price.


    true that. if the marine had been gay, or worse, had he not been a marine and been gay, i doubt mr. oreilly would have been so "generous." icon_rolleyes.gif

    all intent aside, sometimes good comes from even the most egregious of intentions. thank you, bill.
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    Apr 13, 2010 5:20 PM GMT
    As much as i hate WBC and what they stand for I wonder if a ruling against them would impact free speech rights in a negative way.

    If WBC is prohibited from protesting private assemblies (even if they are funerals) then what about other, more legitimate groups, who do likewise? Could the protests of environmentalists, gay rights groups, and other political activists be determined illegal in reference to such a decision?

    I would hate for our country to loose free speech due to WBC.
    Besides I think the more attention WBC brings to themselves the more and more people realize how absolutely absurd their beliefs are. WBC is so beyond the pale that they are laughable and although we might hate what they stand for we shouldn't have any fear that they will have much success in recruiting more haters to their side... in fact quite the opposite might be true.
  • HndsmKansan

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    Apr 13, 2010 5:26 PM GMT
    Well miracles never cease, I never thought I would agree or applaud Bill O'Reilly for anything. You never know what odd things...............
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    Apr 13, 2010 6:18 PM GMT
    Good for Bill.

    I was pretty outraged when I heard this story - but then I heard WBC was 1000 feet from the funeral and did not interrupt the family event and informed the police ahead of time. The Dad didn't know there was a protest until he got home and saw it on the news.

    Well, the Dad is suing for Intentinal Infliction of Emotional Distress. I'm not sure the WBCs actions caused his distress, but for the coverage of the news media that aired the show and made the WBCs protest more broadly known.

    I suppose the Dad could also sue for Defamation - WBC picked his son's funeral to picket and waved signs that stated, "Sempre Fi Fags". Which would imply falsely that the guy was gay. I'm not saying that being gay is a defamation - but it is a falsehood in this case. But it must also result in damages. I'm not sure what damages the family can prove to the deceased estate occured. The Dad wasn't defamed, so he can't sue for his damages. And in this event WBC is protesting on a national issue, which is Gays in the Military - and might fall under the 'protected speech' defense for defamation where open public debate must be permitted.

    I think WBC is gonna win this one.

  • rnch

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    Apr 13, 2010 7:16 PM GMT
    mickeytopogigio said
    SAHEM62896 saidWhy the hell would he do that?

    I think it's an admirable gesture. I don't agree with O'Reilly on many things, but this is an upstanding move on his part.
    agree! icon_cool.gif
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    Apr 13, 2010 7:31 PM GMT
    OHhiker saidI think WBC is gonna win this one.

    I agree. At least the father isn't gonna suffer financially, but the court-awarded damages to these freaks will fund more anti-gay protests by them. Why do the bad guys win so often in our US legal system?
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    Apr 14, 2010 2:21 PM GMT
    I found these excerpts from the opinion issued by the Fourth District Court of Appeals:

    "The protest was confined to a public area under supervision and regulation of local law enforcement and did not disrupt the church service. . . . Although reasonable people may disagree about the appropriateness of the Phelps' protest, this conduct simply does not satisfy the heavy burden required for the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress under Maryland law."

    I think SCOTUS will affirm the lower court's decision on first amendment grounds. And I think SCOTUS should. WBC's conduct was inappropriate and morally offensive. But they did not violate any laws. (There simply isn't a right to grieve without interruption of any sort.) Given the facts (I'm probably in the minority on REALJOCK), I can't think of any sound policy reason for making an exception here.

    Also, if the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to address Snyder's IIED claim, they'll probably throw it out. The elements of IIED are difficult to prove, and the facts, as related above, don't seem to establish the necessary elements I know of. Not even close.