Funeral protests could upend common view of free speech
More than 500 mourners walked quietly through rows of flags and into a white chapel on a recent Saturday afternoon to honor a dead soldier.
Army Lt. Todd Weaver was remembered as a scholar, athlete and born leader. He served in Iraq after high school, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the College of William and Mary two years ago and was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on Sept. 9. He left behind a wife and a 1-year-old daughter.
But before entering the church parking lot, the mourners drove past an unusual demonstration. Scores of flag-waving bikers and students stood near the corner, surrounding three women holding brightly colored signs. They read: "Thank God for Dead Soldiers," "God Hates Fags" and "You're Going to Hell."
Nonetheless, Stanford University law professor Michael McConnell thinks the court will say the Constitution does not shield the Phelps family. Snyder "is not a public figure. He is a private person" who was the target of a hateful protest, McConnell said.