Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date



Snyder v. Phelps, a recent U.S. Supreme Court Case, appears to have had a vast but infrequently discussed impact on First Amendment law. In particular, the case changed the way Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress claims are decided. Snyder v. Phelps shifted the manner in which speech is analyzed away from the method of analysis present in Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell. Rather than focusing mainly on what the status is of the target of speech, Snyder requires one first, and possibly only, look to the dominant thrust of the speech. If the dominant thrust of speech is on a matter of public concern, the speech receives Constitutional protection regardless of who it was targeted at. This thesis will explore the Court's analysis and the broad implications of the Court's decision.