Phelps-Roper v. City of Manchester Decision

Affiliate: ACLU of Missouri
October 16, 2012 2:57 pm

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ST. LOUIS, MO — Today the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit overruled previous decisions and ruled in favor of the city of Manchester in the Phelps-Ropers v. City of Manchester case.

“This decision will limit picketing at funerals, but it also violates the free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment,” says Brenda L. Jones, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri. “Free speech is what sets the U.S. apart from most countries.”

“There had been only two exceptions to the right to engage in peaceful pickets on public sidewalks — outside of someone’s home or a medical facility,” explains Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU-EM and one of the attorneys representing the Phelps-Ropers. “Today’s decision creates a third exception — outside a funeral or burial service — that has never been recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States.”

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