The 8-1 decision in Snyder v. Phelps means "you can still stand on the streets of doomed America and warn people they have to obey God, that their destruction is eminent," she said in a phone interview Thursday with AOL News.
But if Fred Phelps' daughter claimed a heavenly ordained legal victory, few longtime observers of the outcast family from Topeka, Kan., were willing to give them much credit for the outcome.
"They are smart people and they are passionate," Braun said. "Doesn't make them good people. But you can't underestimate their abilities."
Margie Phelps, who was once suspended from practicing in federal and state courts, argued the case before the high court. Her sister Shirley, also a lawyer, was at her side and is the family spokeswoman. The two are the heirs apparent to their father, now 81 and frail, even though Phelps-Roper said, "God hates women preachers" and she considers herself more a "prophetess."
Eleven of Fred Phelps' 13 children are lawyers, many of them graduates of Washburn. They have been widely vilified since they picketed the 1998 funeral of Matthew Shepard, who was murdered because he was gay. Their patriarch has been called "America's most notorious anti-gay activist." But they know their legal rights.
"They scrupulously obeyed the ordinance" that kept them and their "God hates fags" and "America is doomed" signs away from the funeral of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, said Mark Potok, who directs Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project.
"They're good at this," Potok said, noting that the family has successfully sued many communities for monetary damages after they tried to restrict the family's constitutionally protected protests. "They understand the First Amendment very, very well. They are not stupid people. They are vile people."
When reporter Bill Sherman of the Tulsa World newspaper visited the Phelps family compound soon after Margie argued before the high court last fall, he expected to meet uneducated "redneck, local-yokel people." Instead, he found the "well-spoken, smart" Phelps-Roper. They amiably compared notes about children -- she and husband Brent Roper have 11 plus nine grandchildren.
"As long as they're on normal subjects, they're very pleasant," Sherman said. "When she gets on her 'thing,' she leans forward and her eyes get pretty intense and she gets quite strident."
During an often-rambling phone interview with AOL News, Phelps-Roper touched on "the shakings" in the Middle East and other "signs of the end." When asked whether Westboro would start picketing military funerals again, she answered, "Heavens, yes!"
"We're using every resource we have," she said. "Everything we have is on the table. When the nation is destroyed, there won't be anyone to talk to, so better to do it now."
Phelps-Roper said the church -- made up of dozens of relatives -- has staged 45,300 protests in the last 20 years at a reported cost of about $200,000. "Everyone pays their own way," she said, adding she works part time.
Several family members work for the Kansas Department of Corrections. Margie directs the prisoner release program and is reported to do her job well.
Many of the Phelps family members "are well-trained professionals who have day jobs where they act as responsible public- and private-sector employees," said Joseph Aistrup, a political scientist at Kansas State University. "They earn an honest living that helps to provide financial support for the fanatical anti-LGBT public activities of the church."
"When they were engaged in a more active practice, some regarded them as skilled trial lawyers and others believed that they engaged in what often amounted to 'nuisance litigation,' " said Bill Rich, a constitutional law professor at Washburn. "I don't think that their victory had much to do with legal talent."
Nor is it likely to settle the controversy over the protests.
Albert Snyder, the father of the fallen Marine who sued Westboro, told CBS News that there could be blood on the court's hand if other families take matters into their own hands.
Phelps-Roper said she isn't worried.
"If I was Albert Snyder I would be hiding under the bed," she said. "He's put himself in the cross hairs of God."
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