She said the lawyers in the Phelps firm often took civil rights and employment discrimination cases when other lawyers wouldn't. For many people with legitimate claims, the Phelps firm was their last resort, she said.
The firm often represented people who couldn't afford a lawyer.
Filing so many civil rights and employment discrimination cases made members of the firm somewhat unpopular, especially among big businesses the Phelps sued on behalf of clients. The criticism heaped on the Phelpses for filing so many civil rights cases tended to bring the Phelpses closer together as a family, Billingsley said.
Phelps was profiled in Time magazine for preaching against "sins committed on campus by students and teachers ... promiscuous petting ... evil language ... profanity ... cheating ... teachers' filthy jokes in classrooms ... [and] pandering to the lusts of the flesh".
The beginning of the end of Fred Phelps' law career came on Nov. 8, 1977, when the state filed a complaint seeking to have him disbarred. The state's case against Phelps centered on a lawsuit filed in late 1974 by Phelps against Carolene Brady, a court reporter in Shawnee County District Court.
In both trials, Fred Phelps, Sr. represented Sherman Robinson and tried the case. Fred Phelps, Jr. assisted. The case appeared to be Phelps' personal case. He called the defendant, Carolene Brady, as his witness, had her declared hostile, then proceeded to cross-examine her for 3 or 4 full days. The record discloses that his cross-examination was abusive, repetitive, irrelevant, and represented a classic case of "badgering" a witness. Then he had the temerity to complain that Brady cried in the presence of the jury. Throughout the trial, Phelps made attempt after attempt to adduce testimony concerning Carolene Brady's reputation for truth and veracity, her reputation for competency, the falsification of her income tax return and her morality, or lack thereof.
"The WBC isn't a large group and can't withstand that kind of a defection rate for long. "
Phelps is not a cause of hatred and bigotry. He is a symptom.
Millions plan to stage mass "Skip It" demonstration of Phelps funeral as prelude to erecting permanent "Forget It" monument to his life.
Because what they never wanted was attention, they wanted a positive reaction and reciprocation and agreement.
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