ADL to Supreme Court: Facts Don't Fit Claims In Case of Hate Group Vs. Fallen Soldier's Family

New York, NY, June 2, 2010 … A dispute that pits a virulently anti-Semitic and anti-gay hate group against the family of a fallen American soldier should not have been taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

The case, Snyder v. Phelps, arose when the soldier's father sued the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) after the group protested near his son's funeral.

The League has filed a brief in support of neither side, arguing that the Court should not have taken the case since the underlying facts do not involve a conflict between the right of WBC to engage in hate speech and the right of the Snyder family to conduct a private, solemn funeral for their son.

Deborah M. Lauter, ADL Civil Rights Director, issued the following statement:

While the potential for conflict between Westboro's hate and the Snyder family's privacy was obvious, such a clash did not materialize. The group conducted its protest and the funeral was not interrupted. In fact, the Snyders did not learn about the protest until after the fact. 

ADL unequivocally condemns the anti-Semitic and homophobic rhetoric of the Westboro Baptist Church and its funeral protests. However, the Supreme Court need not and should not address the constitutionality of their conduct in the absence of a real conflict. 

ADL monitors and exposes the activities of the Westboro Baptist Church and has consistently condemned its anti-Semitic and homophobic messages.

The League's amicus brief was drafted by Martin E. Karlinsky and Leonard M. Niehoff of the law firm, Butzel Long, PC.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.

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