Free Speech

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Westboro Baptist Church’s Right to Protest


On March 2, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that a family could not sue for damages against the Westboro Baptist Church for protesting near the funeral of a loved one. The case originated out of Maryland, where a lower court awarded the family $5 million for emotional distress caused by the church’s protest. While the decision acknowledged the family’s grief, the court recognized that we cannot abandon core First Amendment principles designed to protect even the most unpopular speech on matters of public concern.

More information about the case is available here. Learn more about why the ACLU defends the speech of unpopular groups here.