The court also accepted two other cases on Monday, one testing whether vaccine makers are immune from lawsuits under state law and another that challenges government background checks on federal contractors as an invasion of privacy. The cases are likely to be heard in the fall.
The funeral case, Snyder v. Phelps, tests the limits of First Amendment protection for demonstrators who aim obnoxious and hurtful speech at the most sympathetic of victims. It centers on the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., founded in 1955. Most of the church’s 70-odd members are children, grandchildren or in-laws of its founder and sole pastor, Fred W. Phelps Sr., according to a lower court opinion.
WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court agreed to decide whether the father of a fallen Marine can collect damages from a religious sect that picketed his son’s funeral with vulgar placards celebrating the death of American soldiers.