As despicable as their actions are, ruling against them would have meant there were places outside, on public roads and streets, in the United States that free speech was limited. There was no way SCOTUS could do that. I was even having trouble wrapping my head around it...
"The court, citing the First Amendment, ruled 8-1 in favor of Westboro Baptist Church, a small, Topeka, Kan.-based group that has staged incendiary anti-gay protests at military funerals.
Jimmie L. Foster, the American Legion's national commander, in a written statement said he and his fellow legionnaires "appreciate the sanctity of freedom of speech" but are "very disappointed that any American would believe it appropriate to express such sentiments as those expressed by the Westboro Baptist Church, especially at the funeral of an American hero who died defending the very freedoms this church abuses."
Westboro attorney and church member Margie Phelps, who argued the case at the Supreme Court, said she expected the outcome. "We read the law. We follow the law. The only way for a different ruling is to shred the First Amendment," she said.
Justice Samuel Alito dissented. Alito said Westboro members have countless ways to express their belief that the deaths of U.S. soldiers are God's way of punishing the nation for its tolerance of homosexuality.
"It does not follow, however, that they may intentionally inflict severe emotional injury on private persons at a time of intense emotional sensitivity by launching vicious verbal attacks that make no contribution to public debate," Alito wrote.
Roberts said free speech rights of the First Amendment shield the funeral protesters,9 noting that they obeyed police directions and were 1,000 feet from the church..." (SOURCE)
Now that I've seen them in real life --I know how insignificant they are-- what a joke they are and how small and petty. They've gotten way too much attention. Make sure the motorcycle groups (yay Patriot Riders!) keep shielding the families and use it as an opportunity to exercise YOUR free speech on a public street!