Cuccinelli responds to Supreme Court decision in Westboro case

The United States Supreme Court voted 8-1 to uphold an appeals court decision to overturn a $5 million verdict against a Kansas church that protests the funerals of American soldiers to bring attention to its message that God is punishing the U.S. for its embrace of gays and lesbians.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli was one of two state attorneys general who didn’t join in an amicus brief on behalf of plaintiff Albert Snyder, the father of Matthew Snyder, a soldier killed in Iraq whose funeral was picketed by Fred Phelps and his followers at Westboro Baptist Church.

“Today, the Supreme Court of the United States vindicated the decision of this office not to join an amicus brief signed by 48 other states in support of tort liability and against Fred Phelps and the followers of the Westboro Baptist Church. While, as both the court in its 8-1 decision and this office have recognized, the speech at issue was vile and reprehensible, it is constitutionally protected under the First Amendment,” Cuccinelli said in a statement.

“The First Amendment is designed to protect ideas, even ideas that upset, that inflame, or that the majority of the country would find offensive. It protects the rights of speakers we agree with, but also – and more importantly – it protects those speakers we would condemn,” Cuccinelli said.

Edited by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at

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