Breaking news - US Supreme Court ruling on abortion protests Bernard Hibbitts at 10:51 AM ET
[JURIST] Breaking news from DC Supreme Court litigators Goldstein & Howe: "Today the Court handed down the opinion in Scheidler v. NOW, No. 01-1118, reversing the Seventh Circuit opinion below [which had favored NOW]. The majority opinion was written by Chief Justice Rehnquist." The Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University provides background on Scheidler, which had pitted anti-abortion groups against NOW in a legal battle over whether abortion clinic protests constitute racketeering and extortion. Opinion and details to follow.
From Justice Stevens' dissent: "The term 'extortion' as defined in the Hobbs Act refers to 'the obtaining of property from another.' 18 U.S. C. §1951(b)(2). The Court's murky opinion seems to hold that this phrase covers nothing more than the acquisition of tangible property. No other federal court has ever construed this statute so narrowly. For decades federal judges have uniformly given the term 'property' an expansive construction that encompasses the intangible right to exercise exclusive control over the lawful use of business assets. The right to serve customers or to solicit new business is thus a protected property right. The use of violence or threats of violence to persuade the owner of a business to su
Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.