Saturday, June 28, 2014

Supreme Court Decision Favors Abortionists' Speech

Although the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously against so-called "buffer zones" that bar pro-lifers from public sidewalks near abortion clinics, Justice Scalia and three other justices said that the majority opinion discriminates against pro-lifers by ruling extra speech rights for abortionist employees.
“Today’s opinion carries forward this court’s practice of giving abortion-rights advocates a pass when it comes to suppressing the free-speech rights of their opponents. There is an entirely separate, abridged edition of the First Amendment applicable to speech against abortion. . . . [and the majority opinion] continues the onward march of abortion-speech-only jurisprudence”
-- Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas
For background, read Supreme Court: Do Pro-lifers Have Free Speech in Massachusetts?

Also read 9th Circuit rules that buffer zones must be equally enforced against abortion clinic advocates.

In separate cases, harassment of pro-lifers costs money in Wyoming and Rockford, IL.

-- From "Court strikes down abortion clinic buffer zones" by Robert Barnes, The Washington Post 6/27/14

Significantly, only the court’s liberals joined [Chief Justice John] Roberts’ [majority] opinion — Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. That is a rare combination at the court . . .

The court’s four conservatives agreed the law violated the First Amendment but, writing separately from Roberts, said he was wrong in not simply finding that the law discriminated against those opposed to abortion.

Justice Samuel Alito did not join Scalia’s biting opinion and wrote his own, agreeing that the law was unconstitutional because employs “blatant viewpoint discrimination.”

Roberts’ opinion — which Scalia mocked as “Something for Everyone” — found a middle ground.

The Massachusetts case is McCullen v. Coakley.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Scalia Accuses Fellow Justices Of Discriminating Against Pro-Lifers" by Tristyn Bloom, Daily Caller 6/27/14

The law’s opponents argued that the law was what is known as a “content-based” restriction of speech because “it creates speech exclusion zones only at abortion clinics and, as a practical matter, affects speech on only one controversial issue–abortion.” Because the law exempted clinic employees and volunteers from the buffer zone, they also argued that it privileged abortion supporters.

This isn’t the first time Scalia has spoken out against his fellow justices on this issue. In 2000, Scalia dissented from a majority ruling in favor of a Colorado buffer zone law: “What is before us, after all, is a speech regulation directed against the opponents of abortion, and it therefore enjoys the benefit of the ‘ad hoc nullification machine’ that the Court has set in motion to push aside whatever doctrines of constitutional law stand in the way of that highly favored practice.”

“Having deprived abortion opponents of the political right to persuade the electorate that abortion should be restricted by law, the Court today continues and expands its assault upon their individual right to persuade women contemplating abortion that what they are doing is wrong. Because, like the rest of our abortion jurisprudence, today’s decision is in stark contradiction of the constitutional principles we apply in all other contexts, I dissent.”

It is unclear whether the court’s Thursday ruling will overturn the 2000 decision.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Scalia: Supreme Court is letting liberal politicians crush pro-life free speech" by Ben Johnson, 6/26/14

The law, [Scalia] said, clearly intended to silence all pro-life advocacy near abortion facilities.

The three criticized the majority's view that the state law was not “narrowly tailored” because the pro-life counselors had not engaged in sufficient violence to warrant the statute. “That is rather like invoking the eight missed human targets of a shooter who has killed one victim to prove, not that he is guilty of attempted mass murder, but that he has bad aim.”

Justice Scalia also rapped the court's liberal wing for telling Massachusetts lawmakers to “consider an ordinance such as the one adopted in New York City that . . . makes it a crime ‘to follow and harass another person within 15 feet of the premises of a reproductive health care facility.’”

Justice Samuel Alito had questioned why abortion escort's free speech rights would be respected within the bubble zone but pro-lifers would have their rights denied.

Imagine if two people spoke to a woman considering an abortion, he said during oral arguments months ago. “The first, who is an employee of the facility, says, ‘Good morning. This is a safe facility.’ The other one who’s not an employee says, ‘Good morning, this is not a safe facility.’ Now, under this statute, the first one has not committed a crime; the second one has committed a crime,” he said.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "JUSTICE SCALIA, with whom JUSTICE KENNEDY and JUSTICE THOMAS join, concurring in the judgment" (beginning on page 35) posted at Supreme Court of The United States 6/26/14

The second half of the Court’s analysis today, invalidating the law at issue because of inadequate “tailoring,” is certainly attractive to those of us who oppose an abortion speech edition of the First Amendment. But think again. This is an opinion that has Something for Everyone, and the more significant portion continues the onward march of abortion-speech-only jurisprudence.

The gratuitous portion of today’s opinion is Part III, which concludes—in seven pages of the purest dicta—that subsection (b) of the Massachusetts Reproductive Health Care Facilities Act is not specifically directed at speech opposing (or even concerning) abortion and hence need not meet the strict-scrutiny standard applicable to content based speech regulations. Inasmuch as Part IV holds that the Act is unconstitutional because it does not survive the lesser level of scrutiny associated with content-neutral “time, place, and manner” regulations, there is no principled reason for the majority to decide whether the statute is subject to strict scrutiny.

Is it harassment, one wonders, for Eleanor McCullen [a pro-life sidewalk counselor] to ask a woman, quietly and politely, two times, whether she will take literature or whether she has any questions? Three times? Four times? It seems to me far from certain that First Amendment rights can be imperiled by threatening jail time (only at “reproductive health care facilit[ies],” of course) for so vague an offense as “follow[ing] and harass[ing].” It is wrong for the Court to give its approval to such legislation without benefit of briefing and argument.

Public streets and sidewalks are traditional forums for speech on matters of public concern. Therefore, as the Court acknowledges, they hold a “‘special position in terms of First Amendment protection.’” Moreover, “the public spaces outside of [abortion providing] facilities . . . ha[ve] become, by necessity and by virtue of this Court’s decisions, a forum of last resort for those who oppose abortion.” It blinks reality to say, as the majority does, that a blanket prohibition on the use of streets and sidewalks where speech on only one politically controversial topic is likely to occur—and where that speech can most effectively be communicated—is not content based. Would the Court exempt from strict scrutiny a law banning access to the streets and sidewalks surrounding the site of the Republican National Convention? Or those used annually to commemorate the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights marches? Or those outside the Internal Revenue Service? Surely not.

To read the entire Supreme Court decision, CLICK HERE.

Also read Christians Arrested for Praying Near Chicago Abortion Clinic (violated city's "Bubble Zone" ordinance)

In addition, read Obama Administration Targets Pro-lifers for Prosecution as well as White House Targets Pro-lifers with Lawsuits, BUT more recently Judges Counter Obama's Attacks on Pro-lifers

And read IRS Tells Pro-lifers: Either Shut Up or Be Taxed