as much as this offends me, i still think that "free speech" covers even the most offensive speech.
High Court Hears Free-Speech Case By JESS BRAVIN
WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court struggled Wednesday to protect a bereaved parent from a character attack without stifling free-speech rights.
.The court confronted the problem in a case tailor-made to test how far the First Amendment protects offensive speech. At issue is whether the father of a fallen Marine can sue a fringe religious group that celebrated his son's death with funeral pickets and online attacks. Online, the group used vulgar language and crude imagery focusing on Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder to amplify its message that America is doomed.
The tiny Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., whose membership largely consists of founder Fred Phelps's relatives, believes that any misfortune America suffers is God's wrath for the nation's failure to follow the sect's doctrine, which condemns gays, Catholics, Jews and others. Among other messages, Westboro said Cpl. Snyder's parents raised their son to serve the devil.
Cpl. Snyder's father, Albert Snyder, sued the church for intentional infliction of emotional distress, winning a $5 million award. A federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., threw out the award, ruling that the First Amendment protected Westboro's speech, and the Supreme Court agreed to hear Mr. Snyder's appeal.