Amendment Right to Free Speech

Amendment Right to Free Speech

Amendment Right to Free Speech. Just like the Supreme Court ruled, Fred Phelps and the Westboro parishioners had the right to picket Snyder’s funeral more so based on the facts presented in court. The ruling of the Supreme Court should be interpreted in the light of its mandate- to defend the constitution. This is what it did in Snyder v. Phelps case. The constitution of United States of America states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  Amendment Right to Free Speech.

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The law that was passed after this controversy still indicates that the actions of Westboro parishioners were legal. Before then, there was no law outlawing picketing thus making the action of picketers legal. The law that came close to addressing the controversy is the “respect for America’s Fallen Hero Act” passed on May 26th, 2009. The law prohibits picketers from protesting within 300 feet and from controlling the funeral venue 60 minutes before to 60 after a funeral. Violation of this law can attract a fine of $100,000 and one year imprisonment (Griffin, 2010).  Phelps and the Westboro parishioners can be considered law abiding citizens since they had assembled 1000 feet away from the church.


Griffin, L (2010). Snyder v. Phelps: Searching for a legal standard. Cardozo L. Rev,De Novo 353. Retrived on Dec. 6, 2011 from

Tedford, T. & Herbeck, D.(6th eds )(2009). Freedom of speech in the United Statutes. New York:  Strata Pub.