Unreal: Father of fallen Marine forced to pay court costs of Phelps scum that picketed his funeral

posted at 9:57 pm on March 30, 2010 by Allahpundit

Note: “Court costs” aren’t the same as “legal costs.” Legal costs include attorneys’ fees; typically each side pays its own way unless the plaintiff’s suit is held to be frivolous, in which case legal costs may be awarded to punish him/her. Court costs are merely administrative costs, but they follow different rules — and as you’re about to see, they can add up. Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 39:

The following rules apply unless the law provides or the court orders otherwise:

(1) if an appeal is dismissed, costs are taxed against the appellant, unless the parties agree otherwise;

(2) if a judgment is affirmed, costs are taxed against the appellant;

(3) if a judgment is reversed, costs are taxed against the appellee;

(4) if a judgment is affirmed in part, reversed in part, modified, or vacated, costs are taxed only as the court orders.

Snyder won at trial but, as I expected at the time, the case was eventually overturned on appeal on First Amendment grounds. (Ed wrote about it recently.) Lose an appeal and you pay the other side’s court costs — unless “the court orders otherwise.” Why didn’t the court order otherwise in this case given (a) Snyder’s financial circumstances, (b) the fact that the legal question at stake is serious enough to warrant the Supreme Court taking the case, and (c) the manifest indecency of picketing a dead soldier’s funeral? Well, funny thing. They’re not saying:

The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ordered Snyder on Friday to pay Phelps. A two-page decision supplied by his attorneys offered no details on how the court came to its decision.

The decision adds “insult to injury,” said Sean Summers, one of Snyder’s attorneys.

Snyder is also struggling to come up with fees associated with filing a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, his attorneys said.

The idea behind the federal rule, I assume, is that the courts don’t want to dissuade people from filing potentially meritorious appeals due to fear of court costs. Which makes sense, except that unless your lawyer’s working pro bono, your legal costs will be vastly more expensive than your court costs. So why have a “loser pays” rule for the latter but not the former? And if the worry is that court costs are such a burden that they’ll discourage good appeals from being filed, isn’t it likely that they’ll discourage a few good lawsuits from being filed in the trial court too? If I have to worry about being soaked at the appellate level if I lose, maybe I decide that it’s not worth my while to sue in the first place.

Bill O’Reilly’s already said that he’s going to pick up the tab here, but if you want to donate to Snyder, here’s the website. The Supreme Court case should be fascinating, essentially a sequel to the famous “Hustler” case regarding the scope of the First Amendment in suits alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress. Snyder’s almost certainly going to lose, alas, but for legal junkies, it’s a treat.



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It’s interesting. I brought up the Westboro clowns the other night and one of the commenters was defending this right to free speech. It’s seems this individual has nothing to opine tonight.

jack herman on March 31, 2010 at 12:42 AM

agree with what someone said about the method used in paying the fine. Fill dump trucks airplanes with 1.6 million pennies and have them dumped dropped on Phelps’ lawn church from 10,000ft.

Red Cloud on March 30, 2010 at 10:16 PM

FTFY

Vic on March 31, 2010 at 12:35 AM

I was thinking awarding the judgment in large bagsfull of coins ( 1.6 million pennies would weigh in at about 5 tons) and a wooden trebuchet, since Phelps is living in the Dark Ages, and deserves that era’s method of delivery.

profitsbeard on March 31, 2010 at 12:46 AM

That scum of the earth should stay away from funerals of servicemen and women if he was a decent Christian person. But I think we all know he’s not.

Good on Mr. O’Reilly for picking up the tab. That is classy.

mjk on March 31, 2010 at 12:49 AM

It’s interesting. I brought up the Westboro clowns the other night and one of the commenters was defending this right to free speech. It’s seems this individual has nothing to opine tonight.

jack herman on March 31, 2010 at 12:42 AM

Wow. That was a waste of time then. If all you were going to whine about is that you didn’t have anything to say. I applaud your ability to whine.

mjk on March 31, 2010 at 12:50 AM

I have heard that Phelps is a Democrat operative who wants to paint Christians in a bad light…any truth to that?

Hmmmmmmm.

Good Lt on March 30, 2010 at 10:10 PM

That’s really an awful thing to suggest. Phelps and co are sick homophobes who hate gays so much that they resort to these sick tactics. I remember seeing them during one of their visits to San Francisco. Their right to assemble here was respected but not much else.

This kind of filth transcends US party politics, religion, and debate. Wouldn’t it be nice if they just emigrated to Uganda or some place where homophobia was the law and they would not have a reason to turn up with their hateful messages.. Iran, Uganda… they hate America so much someone should really take them.

lexhamfox on March 31, 2010 at 1:06 AM

hanging these freaks around the DemoTard’s necks just don’t fly.

The hell it doesn’t. Over a third of the Democrat electorate VOTED for Phelps in their gubernatorial primary. As I said, he was personally invited to both Clinton inaugurations by Clinton, was the chairman of the Gore campaign and a major fundraiser within the party.

And there really is no question as to whether or not he is going to get associated with a group — Democrats have already worked to make people think he’s just another hate-filled Republican.

The question is only whether Republicans want to allow themselves to be smeared with him, or whether we want to correct the record.

American Elephant on March 31, 2010 at 1:07 AM

Again, I come in late. So apologies if this is already stated.

The Leftards must be in total disarray, they’ve got an ‘anti-gay hate group’ versus a ‘military victim’ here. Since they hate both groups, well….

JamesLee on March 31, 2010 at 1:42 AM

Isnt this what you “loser pays” guys want for you tort reform?

Squid Shark on March 31, 2010 at 1:46 AM

Squid, it sure is. Stops a lot of dopey stuff before it starts.
In this case, the plantiff actually won, then lost on appeal, and in the midst of this appeal, is picked up by the Supreme Court. IMHO, that sort of kind of makes any ruling by anyone at this point up in the air, pending final ruling.

JamesLee on March 31, 2010 at 1:51 AM

That’s really an awful thing to suggest.

lexhamfox on March 31, 2010 at 1:06 AM

So says the Hot Air Minister of Disinformation. (What a crock!)

Fact: He is a member of the Democratic Party.

Phelps has run in various Kansas Democratic Party primaries five times, but has never won. These included races for governor in 1990, 1994, and 1998, receiving about 15 percent of the vote in 1998. In the 1992 Democratic Party primary for U.S. Senate, Phelps received 31 percent of the vote. Phelps ran for mayor of Topeka in 1993 and 1997. (wiki)

Recent political activity had him supporting Al Gore:

Phelps supported Al Gore in the 1988 Democratic Party primary election. In his 1984 Senate race, Gore opposed a “gay bill of rights” and stated that homosexuality was not something that “society should affirm”. Phelps has stated that he supported Gore because of these earlier comments. According to Phelps, members of the Westboro Baptist Church helped run Gore’s 1988 campaign in Kansas. Phelps’ son, Fred Phelps Jr., hosted a Gore fundraiser at his home in Topeka and was a Gore delegate to the 1988 Democratic National Convention. Gore spokesman Dag Vega declined to comment.

He’s a Donk. Own him!

BTW: Did libs let David Duke transcend political parties? Nopers, they painted him as mainstream GOP.

BTW2: Lumping everyone who has issues with the gay agenda as a homophobe sort of makes you a bigot too.

BTW3: If you would have come back to the OEF thread about a week ago, I could have helped you set your record straight about the actual number of surge troops by your guy Obama and the dismal outlook we have in this theater because of him. But the offer is open anytime you care to open your mind to the truth. Or you could just go on being a shill for your party no matter how many of us get killed here.

hawkdriver on March 31, 2010 at 2:01 AM

So we’re allowed to publicly call scum scum here? Cool!!!

When Skeletor Phelps kicks the bucket, how much you wanna bet there will be no public funeral?

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 31, 2010 at 4:52 AM

I need someone to explain to me how this is a First Amendment case. I may be missing some information, but neither Congress nor law enforcement were involved with this. It seems to me that it is an entirely civil case, so doesn’t that mean the Constitutional question isn’t germane? (FWIW, I didn’t understand it with the Falwell/Hustler case, either).

DrMagnolias on March 31, 2010 at 6:26 AM

I am no lawyer, but I thought that you could argue that funerals were private. Why can’t you establish a zone of privacy passed around a funeral service? If I show up at a party and act like a jackass, I would get thrown out. Why is this different?

johnboy on March 31, 2010 at 6:52 AM

These are the costs that Palin was talking about when she left the governors office. The Left sent (I think it was 17)people to dig up some dirt against Sara Palin and there were a bunch of, off the wall accusations, that would bring Palin into a court room to defend herself. She made a wise decision.

mixplix on March 31, 2010 at 6:57 AM

johnboy on March 31, 2010 at 6:52 AM

Agreed there should be some sort of honor guard.

And if you have a fallen soldier returning for burial and you think these freaks might be around, then contact your local VFW post and ask for help.

Its one thing to yell at a bereaving family.

It is quite another to yell at a veteran from Chosun, Bastogne, or Nam. They don’t like to see their fallen brothers disrespected… not one little bit.

ajacksonian on March 31, 2010 at 7:24 AM

There’s gotta be a standard. If pro-lifers can be restricted in trying to save babies and poltical protesters at National conventions can be corralled miles from the actual event….. why is it permissible for radical faux-Christians to stand outside a military funeral with signs that read “God hates fags” and “God loves IEDs?”

highhopes on March 31, 2010 at 7:42 AM

To me this proves why we have backwards judges in the courts…because they want that higher up job, maybe even to the Supreme Court.

This Bolshevik in black robes needs to be disbarred from the bench IMMEDIATELY!

Oh and by the way, Fred Phelps was friends with…THE GORACLE HIMSELF AL GORE!

BobAnthony on March 31, 2010 at 8:19 AM

Fact: He is a member of the Democratic Party.

Phelps has run in various Kansas Democratic Party primaries five times, but has never won. These included races for governor in 1990, 1994, and 1998, receiving about 15 percent of the vote in 1998. In the 1992 Democratic Party primary for U.S. Senate, Phelps received 31 percent of the vote. Phelps ran for mayor of Topeka in 1993 and 1997. (wiki)

Recent political activity had him supporting Al Gore:

Phelps supported Al Gore in the 1988 Democratic Party primary election. In his 1984 Senate race, Gore opposed a “gay bill of rights” and stated that homosexuality was not something that “society should affirm”. Phelps has stated that he supported Gore because of these earlier comments. According to Phelps, members of the Westboro Baptist Church helped run Gore’s 1988 campaign in Kansas. Phelps’ son, Fred Phelps Jr., hosted a Gore fundraiser at his home in Topeka and was a Gore delegate to the 1988 Democratic National Convention. Gore spokesman Dag Vega declined to comment.

He’s a Donk. Own him!

BTW: Did libs let David Duke transcend political parties? Nopers, they painted him as mainstream GOP.

BTW2: Lumping everyone who has issues with the gay agenda as a homophobe sort of makes you a bigot too.

BTW3: If you would have come back to the OEF thread about a week ago, I could have helped you set your record straight about the actual number of surge troops by your guy Obama and the dismal outlook we have in this theater because of him. But the offer is open anytime you care to open your mind to the truth. Or you could just go on being a shill for your party no matter how many of us get killed here.

hawkdriver on March 31, 2010 at 2:01 AM

+100,000…hawk thanks for some more evidence into the CULT that is Fred Phelps, WHO SHOULD BE PLACED UNDER CITIZEN’S ARREST!

BobAnthony on March 31, 2010 at 8:21 AM

agree with what someone said about the method used in paying the fine. Fill dump trucks airplanes with 1.6 million pennies and have them dumped dropped on Phelps’ lawn church from 10,000ft.

Red Cloud on March 30, 2010 at 10:16 PM

FTFY

Vic on March 31, 2010 at 12:35 AM

I was thinking awarding the judgment in large bagsfull of coins ( 1.6 million pennies would weigh in at about 5 tons) and a wooden trebuchet, since Phelps is living in the Dark Ages, and deserves that era’s method of delivery.

profitsbeard on March 31, 2010 at 12:46 AM

I THINK there is some (also awful) legal remedy against that sort of action by people who owe a fulfilment of a judgement.

UNFORTUNATELY.

The winning way to go about handling this ugly problem is to see it through to the Supreme Court where, hopefully, the entire issue of the “free speech” exercise being abused by this ugly group can be modified (not the Right itself but how these people are abusing it).

AND for a lot of Americans to contribute to pay the judgement itself.

Isn’t Free Speech, though, fine and dandy up to and until the moment when someone’s Free Speech hits the face of someone else? In these cases by this group, they (to my view) engage in assault, since especially they exploit peoples’ devastational moments such as funerals. It goes beyond the “mere” exercise of the Right to Free Speech and seems (to me) to represent intentional infliction of harm (to put it lightly).

Lourdes on March 31, 2010 at 8:29 AM

Regarding Fred Phelps:

Fact: He is a member of the Democratic Party.

Lourdes on March 31, 2010 at 8:30 AM

It seems to me that it is an entirely civil case, so doesn’t that mean the Constitutional question isn’t germane?
DrMagnolias on March 31, 2010 at 6:26 AM

I think it is the bigger issue of these thugs are allowed to disrupt funerals. In that sense, it is a Constitutional issue just as the pro-lifers have slowly been boxed in at Planned Parenthood’s abortion factories.

highhopes on March 31, 2010 at 8:32 AM

You know, if Phelps ever fell down 6-8 flights of steps, went through a plate glass window, and stepped in front of a city bus, I would have to say it was God’s will.

DrSteve on March 31, 2010 at 8:33 AM

Fact: He is a member of the Democratic Party.
Lourdes on March 31, 2010 at 8:30 AM

Fact: That’s near the bottom of the list of things he and his family are.

highhopes on March 31, 2010 at 8:34 AM

Oh and by the way, Fred Phelps was friends with…THE GORACLE HIMSELF AL GORE!

BobAnthony on March 31, 2010 at 8:19 AM

And Ted Kazinsky (Unibomber) was a big Al Gore supporter.

The list of Leftwing lunatics is a long one. There are few “Conservatives” among the worst of our society as to crimes against the rest of us, particularly aimed at the political level.

D.C. Sniper — Leftwinger (also Muslim) (“very liberal”)

Hasan the Psychotic, Shooting Psychiatrist — Leftwinger (also Muslim) (“very liberal”)

Lee Harvey Oswald — Leftwinger, Marxist/Communist

Sirhan Sirhan — Leftwing, pysychotic

Tim McVeigh — Democrat, Leftwing, Anti-Government guy

Asian Psycho Shooter at Virginia Tech — Leftwinger

Psycho University Female Shooter — Leftwinger, very big
Obama supporter (“Very Liberal”)

Psycho Pilot in Texas — Leftwinger, “Very Liberal”

Ted Kazinsky — Unibomber, Psychotic Leftwinger and big Al Gore supporter

on and on…Leftwingers

Lourdes on March 31, 2010 at 8:36 AM

Fact: That’s near the bottom of the list of things he and his family are.

highhopes on March 31, 2010 at 8:34 AM

It’s still a fact.

Lourdes on March 31, 2010 at 8:37 AM

Maybe this has already mentioned, but last night Blll O’Reilly said he was going to pay Snyder’s court costs.

juliesa on March 31, 2010 at 8:39 AM

Oh, sorry, I didn’t read the entire post. Of course it’s been mentioned. Excuse me-I’m off for more caffeine.

juliesa on March 31, 2010 at 8:41 AM

Clinton appointed judges. ‘Nuff said.

Kissmygrits on March 31, 2010 at 8:49 AM

Hooray for Bill O’Reilly!!!

elclynn on March 31, 2010 at 8:53 AM

These cockroaches should be summarily EXECUTED!!!!!!!!!

nukeemnow on March 31, 2010 at 8:55 AM

Tim McVeigh — Democrat, Leftwing, Anti-Government guy

Lourdes on March 31, 2010 at 8:36 AM

Source, please? This is the first I’ve ever seen McVeigh referred to as a Dem.

Cylor on March 31, 2010 at 8:56 AM

I hear some people are raising money to cover this guy’s fine. To whom do I make out a check, and where do I send it?

manwithblackhat on March 31, 2010 at 8:57 AM

Tim McVeigh — Democrat, Leftwing, Anti-Government guy

Lourdes on March 31, 2010 at 8:36 AM

Source, please? This is the first I’ve ever seen McVeigh referred to as a Dem.

Cylor on March 31, 2010 at 8:56 AM

Yeah, the Leftwing media did a real number on many of you who are today *shocked and awed* that McVeigh was a registered Democrat.

If I’m not mistaken, I also think the WACO folks were, too, among those who voted.

Oh, and so were the Cooky Suicide Club in San Diego, the one’s who thought they were off to join the comet in the sky.

Lourdes on March 31, 2010 at 9:21 AM

This is merely an analysis on my part but …

This kind of thing didn’t happen 100 years ago and … why didn’t happen?

Because if it had happened – it wouldn’t have gone to court and the police wouldn’t have been involved – some big patriotic guys would just have beaten the hell out of these scum.

I kind of think that’s how the founders intended it to be too.

The reason this kind of thing didn’t happen a hundred years ago is because anyone thinking about such a thing would immediately realize they would get the hell beaten out of them.

Am I wrong here?

HondaV65 on March 30, 2010 at 11:10 PM

You’re right.
Lawyers and an ever expanding Federal Gov. is why the community can’t protect itself.
As much as it pains me here to say it, this father is wrong for taking this to the courts. On the one hand we cry out about abortion protesters being pushed back from clinics, and now we want the court to come and push back other protesters from cemeteries. Didn’t NOW scream about the pain and suffering pro-lifers are causing women as they are walking into the clinics? What about when real Christians walk the streets of some gay community and are surrounded by mobs? Couldn’t the gay community complain about the pain and suffering these Chritians were causing them by just walking their streets and quietly praying???

I realize my opinion here may be unpopular. But this father is not turning to the court to to ask the court to protect people from an over reaching government. He is asking the court to limit freedom! And that freedom involved speech.

Washington DC has a cemetery as well. The Capital has been used for funerals as well. There are memorials all over DC. Do not tell me that corrupt politicians would not use a court ruling that limits free speech at cemeteries against other forms of protest! And besides that, you have no guarantee this court would not simply limit speech in other ways!

I repeat, free speech has to be for everyone, or it is for no one! The answer here is to push back the reaches of the Federal Government and to limit the power of lawsuits to allow the communities to protect themselves. This should be a local matter. Not a national constitutional matter.

JellyToast on March 31, 2010 at 9:31 AM

Oh, and so were the Cooky Suicide Club in San Diego, the one’s who thought they were off to join the comet in the sky.

Lourdes on March 31, 2010

Was that the Heaven’s Gate crowd? As tragically stupid as that was, at least they only killed themselves. Is the organization still around? Can we get Phelps and his clan comp’ed memberships? Worth a shot.

SKYFOX on March 31, 2010 at 9:32 AM

I’m not so sure the Falwell-Flynt case applies as much here. The crux of the Flynt decision was that Jerry Falwell was a public figure, and thus had less protection under the First Amendment. The families of the fallen are not, not remotely. Thus, the free speech implications are lessened. More to the point, they are only in the spotlight because the WBC s–t comes to hurt them.

Different victims, different standards.

Agreed with Lawyer to this extent: Yeah, a few vigorous and up-close counter-demonstrations would cool their ardor to inflict pain. Hard to wave a placard with a broken arm.

In the old days, there was a serious penalty for violating basic decency. We’d do well to emulate that example.

DRPrice on March 31, 2010 at 10:04 AM

We live in the land of Obama who is surprised?

inchdeep on March 31, 2010 at 10:47 AM

Snyder’s almost certainly going to lose, alas, but for legal junkies, it’s a treat.

Well sense you have already decided the case why bring it to the Supreme Courts attention in the first place?

Dr Evil on March 31, 2010 at 10:52 AM

I hear some people are raising money to cover this guy’s fine. To whom do I make out a check, and where do I send it?

manwithblackhat on March 31, 2010 at 8:57 AM

matthewsnyder.org for the info.
Not only will the family need money to pay the judgment, but to finance the case going to the Supremes.

Willie on March 31, 2010 at 11:05 AM

Snyder’s almost certainly going to lose

And I thought that:
“Hate Crime” laws would not stand.
Campaign fincance laws would not stand(some still intact)
Special laws restricting Abortion Protestors would not stand.

barnone on March 31, 2010 at 11:57 AM

JellyToast on March 31, 2010 at 9:31 AM

Your opinion is not unpopular with me.

DrMagnolias on March 31, 2010 at 1:12 PM

40 cents worth of lead and a bag of lime……..

seejanemom on March 31, 2010 at 3:21 PM

seejanemom on March 31, 2010 at 3:21 PM

I ♥ U! You think like me. :-)
We may both get banned together, though…

Mary in LA on March 31, 2010 at 4:11 PM

This is the most disgusting thing I’ve seen in quite some time.

I created a fund for their legal fees. If you’d like to help the father, please go to http://snyderlegalfund.bbnow.org/

stranglin on April 1, 2010 at 2:36 PM

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