Ken Cuccinelli is making headlines again. This time with Westboro Baptist Church.
In 2006, protesters from the Kansas-based church carried inflamatory signs at the funeral of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder. The marine’s father filed lawsuit against Fred Phelps’ organization and was awarded $5 million by a Baltimore jury.
A panel of judges at the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond said the signs were protected by the First Amendment and through out the Maryland verdict.
The marine’s father appealed the decision to the Supreme Court which will hear the case in the fall. Only Maine and Virginia decided not to participate in a friend-of-the-court brief held on Tuesday. States argued that they had interest in protecting the sanctity of funerals.
Cuccinnelli’s spokesperson told the Associate Press that the decision should not be seen as the Attorney General siding with WBC.
“I have known him for years and there is no way on earth the attorney general or anyone in this office believes any of the venom, the ridiculous nonsense that is spewed from these Westboro people,” Gottstein said in an interview.
However, he said Cuccinelli weighed the issue carefully and decided that reversal of the appeals court ruling “could be perilous to the First Amendment” by opening the door to lawsuits against protesters on other issues.