December 4, 2002

NOW v. ScheidlerToday in League HistoryDecember 4, 2002—The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in NOW v. Scheidler to determine whether peaceful blockades of abortion clinics constitute “extortion” under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Attorney Roy Englert presents arguments on behalf of League Director Joe Scheidler and his pro-life co-defendants, stating that Congress never intended RICO to be so powerful. Justice Antonin Scalia pressures NOW attorney Fay Clayton over her inconsistency, observing that Clayton’s jury instruction in the case’s 1998 federal court trial said the defendants were guilty if, when standing on the public sidewalk outside an abortion facility, they failed to “part like the Red Sea, and let a woman through,” but now she claims her instruction referred to acts of “violence”. Clayton denies she is changing her position, but Scalia is skeptical.

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