Argumentative or persuasive essay about First amendment protection.

Order Description
Read article and instruction which are attached.
This is 5 full page argumentative or persuasive essay.
This essay has to be write about people who are in the article have to protected by first amendment.
clear thesis, relevant reason, and sufficient evidence needs.

ESSAY ASSIGNMENT: hwrite the essay you wrote in class on the Synder v Phelps
legal case. You may keep the same basic thesis and reasons you used in the in-class
version, or you may choose to completely change sides in the case or develop your

thesis with completely different reasons. In any case, as an out of class essay. this
version should be much more developed and polished than the in-class version.
Document all the information or ideas you take from any outside sources – including
information taken from the original article – following the MLA conventions for
documenting sources.

Snyder v. Phelps

Snyder v. Phelpswas a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that
speech on a public Sidewalk. about a public issue. deserves 15? amendment protection.
even if the speech is found to be ?outrageous.”

The issue was whether the First Amendment protected the public protestors at a funeral
against tort liability. It involved a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress made
by Albert Snyder, a gay man and the father of Matthew Snyder, a Marine who died in
the Iraq War. The claim was made against the Phelps family. including Fred Phelps.
and against Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church (WBC). The Court ruled in favor of Phelps
in an 8-1 decision, holding that their speech related to a public issue, and was
disseminated on a public sidewalk.


On March 3. 2006. US. Marine Lance Corporal Matthew A. Snyder was killed in a non-
combat-related vehicle accident in Iraq. On March 10. Westboro Baptist Church (WBC)
picketed Snyder’s funeral in Westminster. Maryland. as it had done at thousands of
other funerals throughout the US. in protest of what they considered America’s
increasing tolerance of homosexuality. Picketers displayed placards such as “America is
doomed,” “You’re going to hell.” “God hates you.” “Fag troops.” “Semper fi fags.” and
?Thank God for dead soldlers.” WBC published statements on its website that
denounced Albert Snyder and his ex-wife for raising their son Catholic. stating they
taught Matthew to defy his creator,” “raised him for the devil.” and “taught him that God
was a liar.”

Albert Snyder. Matthew Snyder’s father. sued Fred Phelps. Westboro Baptist Church
and two of Phelps’s daughters, Rebekah Phelps-Davis and Shirley Phelps-Roper.

for defamation. intrusion upon seclusion. publicity given to private life. intentional

infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy. The claim of defamation arismg f3m
comments posted about Snyder on the WBC website was dismissed, on the grounGS
that the contents were “essentially Phelps-Roper’s religious opinion and would not
realistically tend to expose the Plaintiff to public hatred or scorn”. The claim of publicity-
given to private life was similarly dismissed since no private information was made
public by the Defendants: they learned that Snyder was divorced and his son was
Catholic from his son’s newspaper obituary. The case proceeded to trial on the
remaining three counts.

The facts of the case were essentially undisputed at trial. Albert Snyder testified that
?they turned this funeral into a media circus and they wanted to hurt my family. They
wanted their message heard and they didn’t care who they Stepped over My son shouid
have been buried with dignity. not with a bunch of clowns outside.”

Snyder described his emotional injuries, including becoming tearful, angry. and
physically nauseated to the point that he would vomit He stated that the Defendants
had placed a “bug” in his head, so that he was unable to think of his son without
thinking of their actions, adding, “I want so badly to remember all the good stuff and so
far, I remember the good stuff, but it always turns into the bad.” Snyder called several
expert witnesses who testified that worsening of his diabetes and

severe depression had resulted from the Defendants’ activities.

In their defense, WBC established that they had complied with all local ordinances and
had obeyed police instructions. The picket was held in a location cordOned off by the
police, approximately 1000 feet from the church, from which it could be neither seen nor
heard. Mr. Snyder testified that, although he glimpsed the tops of the signs from the
funeral procession, he did not see their content until he watched a news program on
television later that day. He also indicated that he had found the W805 statements
about his son on their webpage from a Google search.

In his instructions to the jury, Judge Richard D. Bennett for the United States District
Court for the District of Maryland stated that the First Amendment protection of free
speech has limits, including vulgar, offensive and shocking statements, and that the jun,
must decide “whether the defendant’s actions would be highly offensive to a reasonable
person, whether they, were extreme and outrageous and whether these actions were so
offensive and shocking as to not be entitled to First Amendment protection.? WBC
unsuccessfully sought a mistrial based on alleged prejudicial statements made by the
judge and violations of the gag order by the plaintiff?s attorney. An appeal was also
sought by the WBC.

On October 31, 2007, the jury found for the Plaintiff and awarded Snyder $2.9 million in
compensatory damages, later adding a decision to award $6 million in punitive
damages for invasion of privacy and an additional $2 million for causing emotional
distress (a total of $10.9 million). The Phelpses said that despite the verdict, the church
would continue to picket military funerals. On February 4, 2008, Bennett upheld the
verdict but reduced the punitive damages from $8 million to $2.1 million, to take into
consideration the resources of WBC. The total judgment then stood at $5 million.
ensure that 5:22:51:ng anetgt?gigbwldings and Phelps’s law office in an attempt to
figsepap’::llel::[s?;%fihtga: hearddon September 24, 2009. The Fourth Circuit Coun of
The Fourth Circurt rU’Ejdryhverthict and set asnde the lower court’s $5 million judgment.
question of lawrather tha af e lower court had erred by instructing thejury to deCide a
protected by the First A it get (speCificaIly, whether or not the speech in question was
WBC?s website were men ment). it also ruled that the protest signs and language on

rhetorical hyperbole and figurative expressron, rather than
assertions of fact, so they were a form of protected speech. On March 30, 2010, the
Court further ordered Albert Snyder to pay the court costs for the defendants, an
amount totaling $16,510. People all over the country, including political commentator Bill
0 Reilly, agreed to cover the costs, pending appeal. O’Reilly also pledged to support all
of Snyder?s future court costs against the Phelps.
The Court’s Decision
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion.
In an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Phelps, upholding the Fourth
Circuit’s decision. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion stating “What
Westboro said, in the whole context of how and where it chose to say it, is entitled to
special protection’ under the First Amendment and that protection cannot be overcome
by a jury finding that the picketing was outrageous.”
The court’s opinion also stated that the memorial service was not disturbed, saying,
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.” The decision also declined to expand the “captive
audience doctrine,” saying that Snyder was not in a state where he was coerced to hear
the negative speech
Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a concurring opinion, emphasizing his view that the
decision related only to picketing, and did not take into consideration Westboro Baptist
Church’s on-line publications that attacked the Snyder family.
Justice Samuel Alito was the lone dissenting justice in this case, beginning his dissent
with, “Our profound national commitment to free and open debate is not a license for the
vicious verbal fisault that occurred in this case.” He concluded, “in order to have a
society in which public issues can be openly and vigorously debated, it is not necessary
to allow the brutalization of innocent victims like petitioner.”
In a July 2011 speech, Justice Ginsburg called Alito’s dissent “hearfiejfl: and said that it
underscored the incomparable distress suffered by the Snyder family,” noting that
although no member of the Courtjoined him, his opinion aligned with the views of
many Court-watchers, including one of the nation’s newest-retired Justice Stevens,
[who] recently told the Federal Bar Council he ‘would have joined [Justice Alito?s]
powerful dissent?.”

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