I am deeply saddened by the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He was a brilliant mind and a champion of the United States Constitution and a friend to the pro-life movement.
On December 4, 2002, I sat in the Supreme Court chamber as attorneys for me and for the National Organization for Women argued the details of the RICO case against me, NOW v. Scheidler. At one point Justice Scalia interrupted NOW’s attorney, Fay Clayton, with a pointed question about her definition of blockading. “As your argument to the jury indicated, it was enough if they obstructed the entrance and failed to ‘part like the Red Sea’ if somebody wanted to go in. … You told the jury that you could find an offense here under the Hobbs Act by the mere blockade.”
Clayton answered, “Not true, Your Honor.”
At that point Justice Scalia signaled to a clerk, who brought him a copy of the transcript from the 1998 federal district court trial. Scalia read verbatim from the transcript the exact words he had just used: “part like the Red Sea.”
Clayton was momentarily speechless. And I leaned over and said to my attorney, Tom Brejcha, “I think we’ve won.”
And we did in an 8-1 opinion released February 26, 2003.
On another occasion in the late 1990s I attended a dinner at which Justice Scalia was speaking, and I had an interesting conversation with him on the subject of sidewalk counseling and buffer zones. The Supreme Court had recently upheld an injunction in New York that established a “bubble zone” around an abortion clinic. I told Justice Scalia that these bubble zones violate our First Amendment rights. I then explained that trying to have a reasonable conversation from an awkward distance away inhibited our ability to offer women a real choice.
A few years later, another bubble zone case, Hill v. Colorado, reached the Supreme Court, and although the Court upheld the Colorado bubble zone, Justice Scalia wrote a blistering dissent, citing First Amendment concerns.
Justice Scalia’s death is a great loss to the Court and to the nation. I urge pro-lifers to pray fervently for our country. The future is uncertain, and it is scary. The Court will be hearing some cases in the next few weeks that are critical to the moral and constitutional future of the United States.
At this point prayer is our only recourse. May God welcome this good man to his eternal reward.
I pray for his family and I pray for this nation.