Were the concerns and expressions of The Westboro Baptist Church Picketers protected under the first amendment?
The church members were on public land, 1,000 feet from the church, and out of sight of individuals that were at the church. The protest never got unruly and there was no shouting or profanity. These actions follow assembly/protest guidelines and are thus protected by the first amendment.
The emotional distress claimed to have occurred by Snyder was because of the content and viewpoint of the message, but the fact that the picketing didn't interfere with the funeral shows that Westboro Church cannot be held liable for the distress