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News Posted on October 19, 2012

Associate Dean Amar, Professor Brownstein Cited in Eighth Circuit Opinion

Associate Dean and Professor of Law Vikram Amar and Professor Alan Brownstein  were cited in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit opinion in Phelps-Ropers v. City of Manchester.  The Court ruled in favor of the city of Manchester, Missouri, upholding a local ordinance regulating protest activity in the vicinity of funerals.

The case involved members of the Westboro Baptist Church, who assert that God punishes America with the deaths of its citizens for tolerating homosexuality, and who regularly protest near funerals of deceased U.S. military personnel bearing anti-gay, anti-American signs and placards.  The city passed an ordinance restricting protests at funerals, which church members sued to overturn. 

"Death, Grief, and Freedom of Speech: Does the First Amendment Permit Protection Against the Harassment and Commandeering of Funeral Mourners?", an article by Amar and Brownstein that was published in the Cardozo Law Review in 2010, is cited by the Eighth Circuit en banc opinion in supporting the idea that mourners can be protected by well-written legislation because mourners are "captive to their overwhelming human need to memorialize and grieve for their dead" and thus may subject to special protections.

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit opinion

"Death, Grief, and Freedom of Speech: Does the First Amendment Permit Protection Against the Harassment and Commandeering of Funeral Mourners?"