By Lisa Roth
Although I strongly disagree with the politics and views of the Westboro Baptist Church, the Kansas Supreme Court made the right decision, constitutionally, in ruling that it is allowed to picket funerals. I find it extremely disrespectful and distasteful, but there is nothing illegal about what the WBC is doing. The 1st Amendment states that Congress shall make no law that abridges the “right of the people peaceably to assemble” (United States Constitution).
The KSC, as a state Supreme Court, has no authority to challenge the Constitution and thus was right in its decision, no matter how distasteful the picketing of the WBC is. Currently, the United States Supreme Court is looking at this same issue, in Snyder v. Phelps, and is expected to rule on Oct. 6, 2010. In an earlier case, the Court has ruled that freedom of speech does not protect “certain personal slurs” and “obscene utterances” (Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire). It is also questionable as to whether the WBC’s “assemblies” are to be considered peaceable. We shall see with the decision coming in October as to what the official ruling is, as it is the U.S. Supreme Court’s job to interpret whether laws challenge the Constitution.