Fred Phelps and the First Amendment

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As lawyers and other legal minds pick apart the $11-million ruling against anti-gay pastor Fred Phelps, the consensus seems to be this: Phelps’ speech, while despicable, took place on public grounds and is protected by the First Amendment. But things might not be that simple, says Columbia University law professor Michael C. Dorf, and the judgement against Phelps might pass constitutional muster.

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