In a unanimous decision on Thursday, the Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts law that prevented anyone from standing within a 35-foot buffer zone outside of abortion clinics. The law was intended to prevent abortion opponents from blocking women's access to the facilities; local law-enforcement officials testified that significant clashes frequently occurred just outside clinics' doors.Set aside, for a moment, the merits of being for or against abortion rights. Set aside the question of whether a woman seeking an abortion has the right to do so without having to run a gantlet of strangers who object to her decision.
The first thing that came to my mind when I read the paragraph quoted above is that the Supreme Court has essentially stated that there's no legal basis for insisting that a protester maintain a certain distance from a place of business that he or she is protesting -- that the nature of the business cannot trump the First Amendment rights of an activist.
If this is the case, anti-inequality activists need to put this idea to the test, stat.
They need to form crowds outside investment banks and trading houses on Wall Street and in every financial district in every city and peacefully, quietly, hand out leaflets and try to talk to every person who goes in or out "one-on-one." And try to persuade them that they're doing great harm to the American economy, the American worker, the American citizen.
Because surely an anti-inequality protester has the same rights, may exercise the same civil liberties, is entitled to the same kid-glove treatment, as an anti-abortion protester.