The Supreme Court struggled Wednesday to find a constitutional balance between free speech and privacy in a case involving provocative anti-homosexual protests by a small church at the funeral of a soldier who died in Iraq.
Members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church protested outside the court, while inside, one of their members argued they had a right to promote what they called a broad-based message on public matters such as wars.
But the lawyer for the fallen Marine's father argued those protests were an invasion of privacy and an intentional infliction of emotional distress.
"[Justice] Brandeis said the right to be let alone was the most important, and so he must have been thinking there could be a tort [lawsuit] there for interference with privacy," Justice Stephen Breyer noted Wednesday. "And emotional injury, deliberately inflicted, could be one... but I see that in some instances that could be abused to prevent somebody from getting out a public message, and therefore, I'm looking for a line."