Third Trip to Supreme Court for Pro-Life Activist Joe Scheidler

To: National Desk, Legal Desk
Contact: Joe Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League, 773-777-2900, cell 312-965-1030

Chicago, June 28—”Back to the Supreme Court for a third time! That in itself must be some sort of precedent,” said Joseph M. Scheidler, National Director of the Chicago based Pro-Life Action League.

As the last action of its 2004 term, the U. S. Supreme Court granted Certiorari for the third time Tuesday in NOW v. Scheidler, the federal lawsuit brought by the National Organization for Women under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

The second round for this case ended in an 8-1 victory for Scheidler and the Pro-Life Action League, as well as pro-life activists throughout the country. That ruling issued February 26, 2003 contained clear and decisive language reversing the lower court’s rulings that imposed a nationwide injunction and a judgment of $257,780 on the pro-life defendants.

In his 2003 Majority Opinion, Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote:

Because all of the predicate acts supporting the jury’s finding of a RICO violation must be reversed, the judgment that petitioners violated RICO must also be reversed.

Without an underlying RICO violation, the District court’s injunction must necessarily be vacated.

“I thought that was the end of it,” said Scheidler. “But NOW and its lawyers have a full bag of tricks—and friends in the Seventh Circuit.”

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals accepted NOW attorney Fay Clayton’s theory that the Supreme Court may have overlooked four “predicate acts” and that the District Court should settle the matter of whether the pro-life defendants are still guilty of RICO violations and whether the nationwide injunction is still enforceable.

Briefing and oral arguments will be held over until the Fall 2005 Supreme Court session.

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