The Supreme Court has ruled that a civil judgment against the Westboro Baptist Church, in a case brought by a father of a guy killing Iraq whose funeral the Phelpses protested, can't stand because of the First Amendment:
"What Westboro said, in the whole context of how and where it chose to say it, is entitled to 'special protection' under the First Amendment," Roberts wrote, "and that protection cannot be overcome by a jury finding that the picketing was outrageous."
It was an 8-1 decision, meaning that it was probably pretty cut-and-dry when it came to the law involved. Alito dissented.
All I can say is that it's good to hear that the First Amendment is still in effect. The reason this case even got that far was because the WBC is hated by so many different people: queers and the left hate them because they're homophobes, liberals and the mainstream media hate them because they protest The Troops' funerals, and conservatives hate them because they make conservatives look bad. But, no, just being hated doesn't mean the First Amendment no longer applies to someone. (Also, to pre-empt claims that they disrupted the funeral, there was never any proof that anyone in the funeral heard them.)
Not that it's much, though. Protestors still get arrested and pre-emptively arrested and free speech zones are set up far away major conferences for protesters while people who are even suspected of being protesters are mass-arrested. That's if people can get past the fear of being Tased and tear-gassed and arrested and beat that keeps them from protesting, and that's if they can even find a good reason to protest in our confused political discourse and propagandizing culture.
Sure, there's still a formal right to protest and people like the Phelpses who find a dumb reason can still get small groups together and say stupid things. Heck, you can get a big group together to protest if you have a permit and you're protesting everyone being so partisan or your neighbors getting access to health care. Those sorts of protests don't threaten anyone important.
But if the unemployed, underemployed, impoverished, and exploited got together and actually protested the people who were making them suffer? Yeah, that'd be shut down and those eight justices wouldn't be able to do much about it. Most tactics used to shut down protests of Republican conventions and capitalist summits are illegal anyway, so the possibility of a Supreme Court ruling several years later isn't going to stop anyone.