On the one-year anniversary of the Pro-Life Action League’s stunning 8-1 the NOW v. Scheidler victory in the Supreme Court, a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals announced that they are remanding the case to the Federal District Court. Apparently the appellate judges are giving NOW and Fay Clayton some hope at a second chance.
In their ruling issued Feb. 26, 2003, the Supreme Court majority wrote, “the judgement that the petitioners violated RICO must . . . be reversed” and “the injunction issued by the District Court must necessarily be vacated.” It’s hard to see what the Court of Appeals can find in these words to justify remanding the case, rather than returning it to the district court with an order to reverse the judgement and vacate the injunction.
“If this weren’t an abortion case, we would be surprised by the result,” said Joe Scheidler, the chief defendant named in the original case, which dates from 1986. In a Feb. 27. article in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, co-defendant Tim Murphy remarked, “The whole thing is kind of Kafka-esque.”
League attorneys are weighing several options for responding to the Circuit Court panel’s decision.