Matthew Snyder was killed while on duty in Iraq in 2006. In an incident that made national headlines, his 2006 funeral was protested by members of the Westboro Baptist Church. In October 2007, a Maryland jury awarded the Snyder family $11 million in damages after determining that the protestors' actions were malicious and intended to inflict harm on the grieving family. In 2009, however, the Fourth Circuit reversed the District Court's ruling. The Supreme Court granted Cert. on March 8, 2010 and heard oral arguments on October 6, 2010. Barley Snyder has represented the Snyder family through the proceedings on a pro bono basis, or free of charge.
Summers noted recently that "This case is a test of whether we, as a nation, with full legal justification, have the decency to provide the men and women of our military with the unwavering support they deserve whenever their rights are at risk."
The Attorneys General of 48 states and the District of Columbia have joined the Amicus Brief which was prepared by Kansas Attorney General Steve Six supporting the position of the Snyder family.
Additionally, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asked his colleagues to join him in filing a separate amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of the Snyder family. The brief was prepared by Walter Dellinger, former Solicitor General under President Bill Clinton and filed on behalf of Senator Reid, Senator Mitch McConnell and 56 other senators.
"Having the support of the United States Senate is immensely comforting," said Lance Cpl. Snyder's father, Albert Snyder. "It is not just symbolic support. It is tangible - and will hopefully make a real difference in helping us win the case, not just for me and my family, but for over 400 other military families subjected to similar abuse by the defendants."
For more information, please visit http://www.matthewsnyder.org
- The Price of Free Speech (Time Magazine)
- Supreme Court to Rule on Ant-Gay Protests at Military Funerals (Washington Post)
- Protest at Military Funeral Ignites a Test of Free Speech (USA Today)
- Justices to Hear Case of Protest at Marine Funeral (New York Times)
- A Clash of Basic Rights Coming to Head (Reading Eagle)
- Funeral Protests Could Upend Common View of Free Speech (LA Times)
- Court Weighs Limits on Free Speech (The Wall Street Journal)
- Justices Take Up Funeral-Protest Case (New York Times)
- Free Speech vs. Family's Greif (Chicago Sun Times)