While you probably won’t hear it reported quite this way anywhere else, today the Supreme Court voted 8-0 (Alito didn’t vote, probably because he was too new to have reviewed the case) on a case that upholds our freedom of speech. Nearly everyone else will report this as good news for anti-abortion activists, which it is – but, I’m more thrilled about the protection of our free speech, and related freedoms.
In SCHEIDLER et al. v. NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN, INC., et al., the Supremes ruled that federal extortion and racketeering laws don’t apply to organized demonstrations and protests.
If you recall, the NOW had filed suit against a pro-life group, claiming they were in violation of the RICO and Hobbs Acts, resulting in a federal injunction against the protesters, which in my opinion was a travesty. After 20 years, it appears that uncommon sense has finally prevailed.
Not that I’m in favor of burning down clinics or injuring medical “professionals.” Violence is violence, and there are laws in place to deal with those issues. What NOW had done was to block organized protests. Various social activist groups, as well as the AFL-CIO, had joined with the anti-abortion groups to fight this ruling.
Again, this will probably get more press under the “abortion” heading, but I think that the real victory is for our right to organized free speech.
Here’s a link to the AP article: MSNBC, and a link to the court’s opinion: Findlaw.com