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Supreme Court Arguments Begin in Military Funeral Protest Case

"Thank God for Dead Soldiers."

FILE - In this April 18, 2006 file photo, Shirley Phelps-Roper, left, a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, of Topeka, Kan., holds a protest sign outside funeral services for Sgt. Daniel Sesker in Ogden, Iowa. A judge on Friday, June 19, 2009 set no timetable for his ruling after he accepted opposing arguments on Nebraska's flag-desecration law. Authorities say Phelps-Roper let her son stand on an American flag at the funeral of a National Guardsman in 2007, and that she wore a flag as a skirt that dragged on the ground. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, file)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The father of a Marine killed in Iraq is asking the Supreme Court to reinstate a $5 million verdict against members of a fundamentalist church who picketed his son's funeral.

Members of the church group carried signs that read "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "God Hates the USA."

The Supreme Court is hearing arguments Wednesday in the dispute between Albert Snyder of York, Pa., and members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. The case pits Snyder's right to grieve privately against the church members' right to say what they want, no matter how offensive.

Westboro members say that U.S. deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are punishment for Americans' immorality, including tolerance of homosexuality and abortion.

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