Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Free Speech at Funerals in the U.S.

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Albert Snyder vs. Westboro Baptist Church which involves the question of what limits can be put on the right of free speech. The father of a dead marine sued Westboro Baptist Church for the tort of intentional infliction of emotional harm. The church, basically consisting of the Phelps family, protested at the marine's funeral because they feel that the U.S. army's policy toward homosexuals in the service is sinful. One of their signs said "Thank God for Dead Soldiers". The church is invoking the right of free speech. The Takeaway, a co-production of WNYC Radio and Public Radio International, has a series of short pieces about the case, available to listen in streaming or to download in .mp3. no transcript available.

The Supreme Court now makes recordings of oral arguments available after one week. You can find the arguments in the case here. (.mp3, windows media or realaudio - transcript available 60 min.)