Today, the Supreme Court hears what may be the most controversial case this term: Albert Snyder vs. Westboro Baptist Church. Snyder took members of the Westboro group to court after protesting outside the 2006 funeral of his son, Lance Corporal Mathew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq.
The pastor of Westboro is Fred Phelps, who has for years proudly traveled around the country protesting outside of funerals as a part of his virulent crusade against homosexuality. But long before this Supreme Court case, Phelps had risen to national notoriety. His antics date back more than half a century.
We talk with Mark Potok, a director at the Southern Poverty Law Center, about Phelps' interesting and multi-faceted background, which includes running for political office, filing some 400 lawsuits as an attorney, having 13 children with his wife, and opening and running Westboro Baptist Church.