In Raymond Novak's op-ed piece on the Supreme Court decision in the Snyder v. Phelps First Amendment case, he utterly misstates the 8-1 opinion issued by the court ("Juries on trial," Oct. 6). Mr. Novak claims that "the court found that the evidence was more than sufficient to support [Albert Snyder's] civil claim against the [Westboro Baptist] church," but that it was "unlikely that the jurors could put aside their own views in such a case."
In fact, the majority opinion mentions nothing of the sort. Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, notes that the Court of Appeals acted properly in ruling that the language on the protest signs "was entitled to First Amendment protection because those statements were on matters of public concern, were not provably false, and were expressed solely through hyperbolic rhetoric." Thus, the claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress was denied. The court further ruled that Mr. Snyder's claim of intrusion upon seclusion was not actionable because the protesters complied with all local ordinances, stayed well away from the funeral activities, and were not viewable from the mourners' vantage points.