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The court, in an 8-1 ruling, said the First Amendment protected Westboro's speech at Marine's funeral. Snyder, the Marine's father, said the justices lacked common sense.
Listen as the Supreme Court justices question attorneys for Albert Snyder and Westboro Baptist Church.
Attorney Sean Summers, representing Albert Snyder, and Margie Phelps, representing Westboro Baptist Church, made their cases before the Supreme Court.
The ACLU and a group of First Amendment scholars are among those who file briefs supporting the Phelpses and Westboro Baptist Church.
42 U.S. Senators and attorneys general from 48 states, including Pennsylvania, file briefs supporting Albert Snyder's case.
Albert Snyder is ordered to pay $16,500 in court costs for copying and processing fees in his case against Westboro Baptist Church. A fund is established to help Snyder cover the costs.
The U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear Snyder's appeal of the Fourth Circuit's decision when its next term begins in October.
The Fourth U.S. Circuit court of appeals rules in favor of Phelps, overturning the verdict. The court says Phelps' and Westboro's speech was protected by the First Amendment:
"To paraphrase our distinguished colleague Judge Hall, judges defending the Constitution 'must sometimes share [their] foxhole with scoundrels of every sort, but to abandon the post because of the poor company is to sell freedom cheaply. It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have often been forged in controversies involving not very nice people.'"
Initial award reduced from $11 million to $5 million.
A jury rules in favor of Albert Snyder and awards a $10.9 million verdict, including $8 million in punitive damages.
A trial would determine if Westboro's protest was “mere opinions,” and as the church travels the nation to protest, it would not be “inconvenienced by returning to Maryland” for a trial, a federal judge wrote.
Albert Snyder, Matthew Snyder's father, files a defamation suit against Phelps and the Westboro Church in federal court, alleging church members violated the family's right to privacy and defamed Matthew Snyder on its Web site.
Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder's father, Albert, and mother, Julie, talk about their son. His mother said he was "a determined kid." His father said the family had received more than 200 sympathy cards.
"In one, someone said they showed Matthew's picture to their sons and told them, 'This is what a real hero looks like,'" he said.
Neither would comment on the Westboro church protest other than to say Westboro members had no place at Matthew's funeral.
Matthew Snyder is buried in Westminster, Md., after a funeral at a nearby Catholic Church. The Rev. Fred Phelps and members of his Westboro Baptist Church stage a protest 1,000 feet outside the ceremony, including signs reading "Semper Fi, Semper Fags" and "God hates dead soldiers."
Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, 20, is killed in a Humvee crash in Al Anbar province, Iraq.