Bonus round-up: Snyder v. Phelps
on Oct 6, 2010 at 9:32 pm
Todayâ€™s oral argument in Snyder v. Phelps generated substantial press and blog coverage.Â First One @ One First provides a vivid picture of the scene outside the courthouse.Â The Blog of Legal Times also has scenes from the Court.Â Reports of what transpired inside are available from the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, USA Today, Wall Street Journal (and its Law Blog), Bloomberg, Reuters, U.S. News & World Report, ABC News, Fox News, Constitutional Law Prof Blog, Associated Press (via the First Amendment Center), Washington Times, CNN, First One @ One First, PBS, and the York Daily Record, which has closely followed this local story.Â The transcript is available here.
Few journalists cared to predict the outcome of the case, and several commented on the Courtâ€™s struggle to resolve the partiesâ€™ strong claims.Â In the Atlantic, Garrett Epps attributes that difficulty to the quality of the oral argument, which he characterizes as â€œtwo inexperienced pilots sail[ing] into a legal Bermuda Triangle.â€Â But to David Savage of the Los Angeles Times, the Justices â€œsounded as though they are inclined to set a limit to the free-speech rule to permit lawsuits against those who target ordinary citizens with especially personal and hurtful attacks.â€Â On this blog, Lyle Denniston suggests that when the Justices discuss this case on Friday, they may â€œcraft a way to write into the First Amendment a â€˜funeral exceptionâ€™ to the right to speak out in public in outrageous and hurtful ways.â€Â Tony Mauro of Supreme Court Insider expects the opposite, reporting that â€œsome Supreme Court justices on Wednesday seemed reluctant to upset First Amendment precedents that protect even the most obnoxious speech from punishment.â€Â In Slate, Dahlia Lithwick suggests that â€œat least a few of the justices really, really, really just hate the Phelps family and its manner of protest, and they might even be willing to whip up a little new First Amendment law to prove it.â€Â And at her Crossroads blog for CBS News, Jan Crawford opines that after todayâ€™s argument it is clear that â€œJustice Alito has emerged as the Court’s most insightful and strategic questioner.â€
- ABC News interviews K. Ryan Jones, a University of Kansas student who has made a documentary about the Westboro Baptist Church.
- And finally, the Washington Post has coverage of the competing news conferences that followed todayâ€™s argument.