Supreme Court says Westboro Baptist Church has right to picket

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The US Supreme Court has ruled that the Westboro Baptist Church has a right to say "God Hates Fags" where ever they choose.

In an 8-to-1 decision, with Justice Samuel Alito as the only dissenting voice, said that the Church has the right to picket where they want, when they want - thus reversing a lower courts $5MM ruling against the church.

From a report at ABC News: "Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, said today's ruling is a narrow decision, dealing strictly with Westboro's picketing activity.

"Speech is powerful," Roberts wrote. "It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and -- as it did here -- inflict great pain."

"On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker. As a nation we have chosen a different course -- to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate," he said. "That choice requires that we shield Westboro from tort liability for its picketing in this case."

Most people detest the Westboro Baptist Church for their message and the way they choose to distribute it, but we need to remember that we ALL have the Freedom of Speech - whether that speech is for love or hate.  If we stifle the speech of one, we need to stifle the speech of all.

Westboro Baptist Church is no stranger to Chicago, they've been here many times over the past few years including a visit to the Center on Halsted in 2008 and at a northside synagogue in 2009 - if you click through to the next page you can watch videos of both demonstrations.

Westboro Baptist Church attempts to protest at the Center on Halsted in 2008

Westboro Baptist Church attempts to protest Emanuel Congregation in 2009.

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  • This was an easy 1st A. case

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