Joe Scheidler speaks to reporters after his Nov. 30 hearing [Photo by EJS]
On February 28, the Supreme Court ruled—once again—that pro-life activist Joe Scheidler is not a racketeer. The unanimous decision is being hailed as a victory not only for the pro-life movement, but for freedom of speech and the rule of law itself.
In 2003, the Court ruled 8-1 that the 1998 decision against Scheidler and other pro-life defendants must be vacated, but in 2004 the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals refused to implement the decision, buying the arguments of NOW’s lawyers that somehow the Supreme Court had overlooked something in its unequivocal 2003 decision. Scheidler then went back before the Supreme Court for another hearing.
“I am mystified that I had to go to the trouble and expense of appearing before the Supreme Court three times,” said Scheidler. “The Court was right when they ruled in 2003, but the National Organization for Women refused to acknowledge defeat.” Commenting on the delay caused by the Seventh Circuit, Scheidler remarked, “The Supreme Court seems to take the First Amendment more seriously than the Circuits do.”
The Court’s new ruling should bring an end to this case once and for all. NOW v. Scheidler was originally filed in 1986, and has been before the Supreme Court three times—more than any other case in U.S. history. The recently-appointed Justice Samuel Alito did not take part in today’s ruling, which was written by Justice Stephen Breyer.
More Information on NOW v. Scheidler
- Pro-Life Activist Scheidler Beats NOW in Supreme Court—Feb. 28 League Press Release
- Scheidler’s Third Trip to the U.S. Supreme Court—Winter 2005 Action News article
- Scheidler To Make Historic Trip to the Supreme Court—Spring/Summer 2005 Action News article
- Despite High Court Victory, NOW v. Scheidler Lives On—Winter 2005 Action News article
- Fay Clayton’s Endgames—June 2003 Action News article
- NOW v. Scheidler Case Summary—From 1986 to the present