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Published: 03/6/11

The Important Supreme Court Decision You Didn't Hear About Last Week

By  Andrew Cohen - Politics Daily
The Important Supreme Court Decision You Didn't Hear About Last Week

If you think Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church made out well last week before the U.S. Supreme Court, consider the case of Jason Pepper. The confessed former methamphetamine dealer won his own case last week at the high court -- and may not have to go back to prison for his old crime (he was released pending the appeal). More significantly, the court's ruling struck yet another blow against sentencing guidelines. The reason you probably haven't heard much about Pepper is because the decision in his case, Pepper v. United States, came out last Wednesday just a few minutes before the...

Published: 03/3/11

Supreme Court's 8-1 Westboro Ruling -- and Alito's Passionate Dissent

By  Andrew Cohen - Politics Daily
Supreme Court's 8-1 Westboro Ruling -- and Alito's Passionate Dissent

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito likely spoke for millions of Americans Wednesday when he decried the strategy, tactics and motives of Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church zealots, who picket military funerals to express their virulent anti-gay views. But on the Court, Justice Alito spoke alone. Related Stories Supreme Court Upholds Westboro Baptist Church's Right to Military Funeral Protests Westboro Church Protestors -- Ignore Them Westboro Baptist Church to Picket Funeral of 9-Year-Old Arizona Shooting Victim Bill Would Ban...

Published: 03/3/11

WordPress DDoS Attack Adds to Growing Cyber Wars

By  Mary Phillips-Sandy - AOL News
WordPress DDoS Attack Adds to Growing Cyber Wars

Popular open source content management system WordPress was targeted by a massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack today, TechCrunch reports. It wasn't easy for TechCrunch to post that information, as TechCrunch runs on WordPress. (The site, and many other WordPress sites, are working again.) WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg said in a statement that the attack affected all three of the company's datacenters. "This is the largest and most sustained attack we've seen in our six-year history," he said. "We suspect it may have been politically motivated against one of our non-English...

Published: 03/2/11

Dissenting Justice: Westboro Ruling Goes Too Far

By  Joseph Schuman - AOL News
Dissenting Justice: Westboro Ruling Goes Too Far

Where should the nation draw the line on free speech? For Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, the defense of First Amendment rights expressed by today's majority ruling in the Westboro Baptist Church case goes too far. The 8-1 decision found that the fringe church's hate-filled picketing at the funeral of a Marine corporal killed in Iraq qualified as public discourse protected by the First Amendment. Church members claim soldiers' deaths are God's punishment for U.S. tolerance of homosexuality. Kris Connor, Getty Images Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr. was the lone...

Published: 03/2/11

One Family's Fight Against the Westboro Baptist Church

By  Theunis Bates - AOL News
One Family's Fight Against the Westboro Baptist Church

On March 10, 2006, more than 1,200 people gathered at St. John's Catholic Church in Westminster, Md., to say their farewells to Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder. The 20-year-old Marine had died a week earlier, when his Humvee rolled over in western Iraq while he was manning the gun turret. His father, Albert Snyder, later told the Marine Corps Times how beautiful it was to see strangers come out on the streets of Westminster and salute the funeral procession as it drove to a nearby veterans cemetery. "I've never seen a funeral like this in my life," Snyder said. "It was just amazing to...

Published: 03/2/11

Westboro Court Decision Pits Free Speech Against Common Decency

By  Andrea Stone - AOL News
Westboro Court Decision Pits Free Speech Against Common Decency

WASHINGTON -- Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church may have won their case in the U.S. Supreme Court today, but not even the most ardent advocates of free speech are rejoicing. "On a personal level, I can't imagine a single person in this country who doesn't feel the pain of this father" whose Marine son's funeral was picketed by the hate-spewing church, said Gene Policinski, executive director of the First Amendment Center. "But a free and open marketplace of ideas requires us to hear positions and views that we don't like and which deeply offend us." The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that...

Published: 03/2/11

Supreme Court Sides With Westboro Baptist Church; Twitter Reluctantly Agrees

By  Torie Bosch - AOL News
Supreme Court Sides With Westboro Baptist Church; Twitter Reluctantly Agrees

Who ever said that free speech would be easy? Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church, a small group, made up mostly of members of the Phelps family, that stages protests at military funerals (and other places). The case, Snyder v. Phelps, was filed by the father of a fallen soldier, whose funeral was protested by Westboro. "Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and -- as it did here -- inflict great pain. On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker,"...

Published: 03/2/11

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Military Funeral Protesters

By  not in system - AOL News
Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Military Funeral Protesters

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the First Amendment protects fundamentalist church members who mount anti-gay protests outside military funerals, despite the pain they cause grieving families. The court voted 8-1 in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. The decision upheld an appeals court ruling that threw out a $5 million judgment to the father of a dead Marine who sued church members after they picketed his son's funeral. Nicholas Kamm, AFP/Getty Images Members of the Westboro Baptist Church, a Kansas church known for its vehement anti-gay...

Published: 03/2/11

Supreme Court Upholds Westboro Baptist Church's Right to Military Funeral Protests

By  Andrew Cohen - Politics Daily
Supreme Court Upholds Westboro Baptist Church's Right to Military Funeral Protests

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that vitriolic anti-gay protests at military funerals are a form of political speech protected by the First Amendment. Writing for the majority in an 8-1 ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts declared that the Westboro Baptist Church, led by its founder, Fred Phelps, could not be held liable for money damages sought by the family of a slain Marine, Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder, whose funeral was picketed by church members in 2006. Only Justice Samuel Alito, who had forcefully objected to the protests during oral argument in the case in October, dissented from...

Published: 02/25/11

Westboro Baptist Church Taunts Anonymous, Gets Hacked [VIDEO]

By  David Knowles - AOL News
Westboro Baptist Church Taunts Anonymous, Gets Hacked [VIDEO]

Strange bedfellows indeed. A compelling live exchange between a representative of the Westboro Baptist Church and an anonymous spokesman for the Internet hacktivist group Anonymous resulted in a rather predictable outcome. In the middle of David Pakman's radio program, during which Westboro's Shirley Phelps-Roper repeatedly taunted Anonymous, the rogue group apparently launched an attack on the church's websites. Here's how the encounter went down: Reaction to Westboro's confrontational attitude toward Anonymous, which had previously claimed it would not attack the church out of a...

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