Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blasted the Supreme Court Wednesday for their decision to uphold the right to demonstrate at the funerals of soldiers who were killed in action.
“I am very disappointed in today’s Supreme Court decision to allow hateful extremists to attempt to sully the memories of heroes who have fought and died to protect this country, and to heap more hurt on already grief-stricken families,” Reid said in a statement released shortly after the Supreme Court announced their decision. “These families have only one chance to bury loved ones who made the ultimate sacrifice. They deserve the right to mourn without being subjected to the ugly signs and slurs of fanatics.”
Based out of Topeka, Kansas, Westboro Baptist Church sends members around the country to protest funerals carrying signs that say “God Hates the U.S.A” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.”
Albert Snyder, the father of a soldier killed in Iraq sued the group after they held a demonstration at his son’s funeral. Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion, said the First Amendment protects “even hurtful speech on public issue.”
“Speech is powerful,” Roberts said. “It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and – as it did here – inflict great pain. On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker.”
Reid joined a bipartisan coalition of 58 members of the Senate in filing an amicus brief on Snyder’s behalf.