Mark Wednesday February 26 in red letters because it is one big red letter day for the pro-life movement. We were having a slice of cherry pie for breakfast when we got word that the U. S. Supreme Court had ruled 8 to 1 that we are not racketeers.
It was a bittersweet announcement. Much as we rejoice that our seventeen-year trial is over we will miss being considered a racketeer for life. However, it is refreshing to know that the Supreme Court understood just how ridiculous the whole seventeen-year-old fiasco really was.
Our Seventeen-Year Trial
To give you a quick rundown of the whole story, we were charged with violating the Sherman Clayton anti-trust laws in June of 1986. After three years of getting nowhere and having the anti-trust charge rejected by the federal court, NOW amended the complaint to add RICO, a 1969 law crafted to entrap leaders of organized crime and illegal drug trafficking.
We thought adding RICO was a joke at the time, and Federal District Judge James F. Holderman dismissed the case in May, 1991. In June, 1992 the Federal Appeals Court upheld Holderman’s dismissal.
That November NOW appealed to the U. S. Supreme Court and in January, 1993 the case was argued before the Supreme Court. Later the supreme court ruled 9-0 that RICO could be used.
In Mrch of 1998 after 12 years of litigation the jury trial began in Chicago and in April, Scheidler and team were found guilty by a six-person jury. A year later, July 1999 Judge David Coar issued a nationwide injunction against pro-life demonstrators and damages and some legal fees of over $400,000.
Supreme Court Appeal
The League appealed to the Supreme Court and in April, 2002 the Court agreed to review the case. Oral arguments took place on December 4, 2002 and on February 26, 2003, the court ruled 8 to 1 in our favor. The lone dissenter was Illinois own John Paul Stevens, who wrote a pitiful defense of using RICO to entrap pro lifers.
While the 8-1 ruling should close the case, the decision will have to go down through the various courts, back to the 7th Circuit and back to Judge David Coar’s court. All along the way Fay will probably try to hold it up, file complaints or whatever, but in the end there should be a total vacating of the case. Stay tuned to Action News and keep in touch.
Thanks for Your Prayers
Meanwhile, we have done umpteen interviews and answered scores of congratulation messages and even received flowers, balloons and a stuffed pig, all of which we appreciate, but mostly we appreciate all the prayers that went into gaining this victory which is mostly a victory for the precious unborn whom we hope to save in larger numbers now.
What we see coming from the NOW v. Scheidler decision is more activism, more people coming out to the mills, more prayer warriors, larger Face The truth tours. This ruling is a victory not for us but for the babies and ultimately a victory for the Lord of Life. When we found a minute the whole staff of the Pro-Life Action League joined in a Te Deum in the St. Joseph chapel to thank God for this victory over the culture of death.