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.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.