Moderator: Bill Glasheen
Van Canna wrote:It is a wonder there haven't been any reprisal killings so far by families or military personnel.
Fred Phelps and his small congregation provide WBC's funding; the group neither solicits nor accepts outside donations. In addition to this income, the church makes money by winning or settling civil lawsuits involving the church. During the 1990s, the group sued Topeka multiple times for failing to provide sufficient protection during its protests. Although they lost most of their cases, WBC did win $43,000 in legal fees in 1993. According to Shirley Phelps-Roper, they also won more than $100,000 in 1995 in a lawsuit against Kansas' Funeral Picketing Act, which they claimed violated their First Amendment rights. Because the Phelps family represents WBC in court, they can put the fees they win towards supporting the church.
On March 10, 2006, the WBC picketed the funeral of Matthew Snyder, a Marine who was killed while serving in Iraq. WBC members held signs reading "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "You're going to Hell." Matthew's father, Albert Snyder, sued WBC for defamation, invasion of privacy, and emotional distress, going to trial in 2007. He originally won a $10.9 million judgment, but it was reversed on appeal in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. On March 8, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal. On March 19, 2010, the Fourth Circuit ordered Albert Snyder to pay more than $16,000 for the WBC's court costs. Snyder described the Fourth Circuit's order as "a slap in the face." In early March 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protected WBC's right to hold protests at funerals.
On June 5, 2007, Shirley Phelps-Roper was arrested while protesting in Bellevue, Neb. Shirley had allowed her son to stand on an American flag, while she wore a flag around her waist, allowing it to drag along the ground as she walked. Shirley was charged under a Nebraska flag desecration law. She was also charged with negligent child abuse, disturbing the peace, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor (because she allowed her son to violate the flag law.) On July 27, 2010, the city of Bellevue dropped the charges of flag desecration and contributing to the delinquency of a child, due to a federal judge declaring the flag desecration law unconstitutional. The city also paid Phelps-Roper $17,000 in a settlement agreement, in exchange for her dropping a pending lawsuit against the city. However, the city did not drop the charges of disturbing the peace and negligent child abuse.
Bill Glasheen wrote:I do find it interesting that they've been able to get their opponents stuck with paying their legal fees. It seems to me that Albert Snyder's case was more than reasonable, and he deserved his day in court. If this precedent of "winner takes all" begins to stick, that would be new for U.S. tort practices.
the Phelps family represents WBC in court, they can put the fees they win towards supporting the church.
“The Westboro folks are cowards, they have been "invited" to protest veterans deaths in East LA by the local gang members who stated "one of ours will walk up and put one in their head even if a cop is standing two feet away, let them come", but of course you don't ever see the cowards from Westboro going anywhere near East LA to protest. I don't condone or promote this type of activity but it does show how cowardly the so called church members are.”
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