Supreme Court to hear RICO abortion case Krista-Ann Staley at 12:38 PM ET
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to review for the third time a 19-year old abortion case. In 1994 the Court held that the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) [text] could be used to challenge anti-abortion blockades of clinics. When the suit went back to trial plaintiff National Organization for Women [advocacy website] won $276,000 in damages from anti-abortion demonstrators and a nation-wide injunction against blockades. However, when the case returned to the Supreme Court again in 2003, the Justices found a lack of evidence of extortion and lifted the injunction. Now, while anti-abortion forces argue that decision put the issue to rest, the court will hear Scheidler v. NOW [Duke Law backgrounder] and Operation Rescue v. NOW as a consolidated case beginning in October of the 2005-2006 term. The Court is expected to address whether the 2003 decision was intended to eliminate all bases for a RICO violation with respect to clinic blockades. Bloomberg has more.
The Court also granted certiorari Tuesday in Rice v. Collins, a Ninth Circuit case involving a prosecutor striking a black woman from the jury panel in the trial of a black man for drug charges, and a Sixth Circuit capital case, House v. Bell involving the standard for judging a claim of actual innocence. The Court's full Order List [PDF] is available online.
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.