This Note avers that speech of the Westboro Baptist Church, in the context of funeral pickets, can be construed as targeted personal attacks on grieving families which have the potential to incite—and indeed have incited—immediate breaches of the peace and violent rebuttals. In light of Snyder, and the inadequacy of time, place, and manner statutes as a protection for grieving families, this Note argues for the revitalization of the “fighting words” doctrine to encompass targeted, ad hominem attacks from organizations like the Westboro Baptist Church, thereby leaving this speech unprotected by the First Amendment and exposing the speakers to tort liability.
Note, Can Dead Soldiers Revive A "Dead" Doctrine? An Argument For The Revitalization Of "Fighting Words" To Protect Grieving Families Post-Snyder V. Phelps 63 Clev. St. L. Rev. 743 (2015)