HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Supreme Court Accepts Abortion Protest Case

Yesterday, the Supreme Court granted cert. in Scheidler v. Now & Operation Rescue v. Now Certiorari granted: 06/28/05 Nos. 04-1244 & 04-1352 (Consolidated) Courts below: 396 F.3d 807 (7th Cir. 2005) Full text:

.  The issue in the case involves whether Violation of the Acts or Threats of Violence Language in the Hobbs Act May Serve as Independent Predicate Grounds for Injunctive Relief?

Here is a summary of the case from the Willamette Law Onlinet: 

The National Organization for Women (NOW) and two health clinics that perform abortions filed a class action law suit against Joseph Scheidler, Pro-Life Action Network, and other individuals and organizations that oppose abortions (Anti-abortion Groups). NOW alleged that the Anti-abortion groups engaged in conduct in violation of the Hobbs Act. A jury in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (District Court) found that the Anti-abortion groups had committed numerous violations of both state and federal extortion law, and also had committed four acts or threats of violence to persons or property. The United States Supreme Court (the Court) granted limited certiorari to address whether the Anti-abortion groups had committed extortion within the meaning of the Hobbs Act and whether NOW, as private litigants, could obtain injunctive relief under RICO. However, the Court did not ultimately reach the question of availability of private injunctive relief under RICO because it held that the Anti-abortion groups did not commit extortion. On remand to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Court of Appeals), NOW argued that they had not petitioned for a writ of certiorari on the four acts involving violence, and therefore it remained to be decided whether these acts could serve as a predicate for injunctive relief. The Court of Appeals remanded the matter to District Court. [Summarized by Kianna B. Bradley.]


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