The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that federal racketeering
and extortion laws were improperly used to punish aggressive anti-abortion protesters,
lifting a nationwide injunction that barred people from interfering with clinic
The court’s 8-1 ruling applies to protests of all sorts,
not just at abortion clinics.
Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, writing for the majority,
said that when protesters do not "obtain" property, they cannot be
punished under federal extortion laws.
The court’s ruling is a victory for Operation Rescue,
anti-abortion leader Joseph Scheidler and others who were ordered to pay damages
to abortion clinics and were barred from interfering with their businesses for
10 years. The ruling ends that injunction.
Justice John Paul Stevens was the lone dissenting vote. He was appointed to
the Circuit Court by President Nixon and then to the Supreme Court by Gerald
Ford. His voting record closely matches Justice Ginsburg’s and Justice Souter’s.
Of course Justice Souter was appointed by President George H. Bush. I hope that
if President G.W. Bush gets a chance to nominate someone to the Court that it
won’t go the way of nominations from previous Republican presidents. I am all
for litmus tests, especially ones that require a belief in the actual Constitution
of the US. You don’t need a pro-life litmus test if they follow the real Constitution
and not the illusionary ever changing evolving living Etch A Sketch� document
a.k.a. the Constitution..