Attorney General Bill McCollum today released the following statement regarding the Snyder v. Phelps case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court:
“Today, I am proud to announce that I have joined several other states in supporting the Snyder family in their U.S. Supreme Court case to protect those who attend military funerals from the kind of protesting that is hateful, hurtful, and inflicted against private citizens.
“Matthew Snyder was a U.S. Marine who was killed while serving in Iraq in 2006. His funeral at his family church in Maryland was protested by a group that protested in such a hateful manner, his father sued the group and won. “That case is now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, and Florida will join the Snyder family to protect military funerals from hateful protestors because funerals are not public events; those attending funerals are captive audiences that cannot avoid the harmful speech these protestors bring to such sacred events; and picketing, particularly in the personal and vicious attack style used by the these protestors, is a particularly intrusive and harassing form of speech.
“The values of the First Amendment are not served by prohibiting states from protecting a soldier’s funeral from this extreme conduct. Soldiers’ families should be guaranteed a time of mourning in peace, privacy, and dignity. Florida and all states must be able to protect their citizens from the psychological and emotional trauma and suffering wrought by conduct of these protestors. Our fallen soldiers are heroes, and should be laid to rest as such.”
A copy of the brief is available online at: http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/MRAY-85ZQZU/$file/SnyderAmicusBrief.pdf
And it’s not “several states” that signed on to the brief. Forty-eight states and D.C. signed on.
P.S. If you’re wondering which two states didn’t sign on: Virginia and Maine. I don’t see any statement on Maine’s Attorney General’s site giving their rationale for not joining. If anyone sees a press release from them, please post a link in the Comments section or send it to me.