A jury in Baltimore has awarded $11 million dollars to the family of a serviceman killed in Iraq whose funeral was picketed by Fred Phelps and his "Westboro Community Baptist Church" (a group consisting largely of Phelps' extended family.) The family alleged that the picketing - which apparently took place 1000 feet from the funeral - constituted invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Fred Phelps and the fellow inmates of the Westboro Asylum are an obnoxious bunch. They picketed my church a few years back and they are both disgusting and scary in a Night of the Living Dead type of way.
But is allowing this case to go to a jury and permitting that jury to award damages constitutional? If it is, then could the family of a wounded soldier picket Code Pink protestors for demonstrating outside the Walter Reed Army Medical Center?