Snyder v. Phelps (Dissenting opinion)


ALITO, J., dissenting

Belying any suggestion that they had simply made general comments about homosexuality, the Catholic Church, and the United States military, the “epic” addressed the Snyder family directly:

“God blessed you, Mr. and Mrs. Snyder, with a resource and his name was Matthew. He was an arrow in your quiver! In thanks to God for the comfort the child could bring you, you had a DUTY to prepare that child to serve the LORD his GOD—PERIOD!  You did JUST THE OPPOSITE—you raised him for the devil. .  .  .  .  .

“Albert and Julie RIPPED that body apart and taught Matthew to defy his Creator, to divorce, and to commit adultery. They taught him how to support the largest pedophile machine in the history of the entire world, the Roman Catholic monstrosity.  Every dime they gave the Roman Catholic monster they condemned their own souls.  They also, in supporting satanic Catholicism, taught Matthew to be an idolater. .  .  .  .  .

“Then after all that they sent him to fight for theUnited States of Sodom, a filthy country that is in lock step with his evil, wicked, and sinful manner of life, putting him in the cross hairs of a God that is so mad


in Snyder’s petition for certiorari.  Ante, at 3, n. 1.  The epic, however, is not a distinct claim but a piece of evidence that the jury considered in imposing liability for the claims now before this Court.  The protest and the epic are parts of a single course of conduct that the jury found to constitute intentional infliction of emotional distress.  See 580 F. 3d, at 225 (“[T]he Epic cannot be divorced from the general context of the funeral protest”). The Court’s strange insistence that the epic “is not properly before us,” ante, at 3, n. 1, means that the Court has not actually made “an independent examination of the whole record,” ante, at 7 (internal quotation marks omitted).  And the Court’s refusal to consider the epic contrasts sharply with its willingness to take notice of Westboro’s protest activities at other times and locations.  See ante, at 9.

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