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Photo of abortion clinic protest
Hey look! It's the abortion "counseling" mobile!!
Earlier this year, there was great gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair because college students were protesting against certain commencement speakers. (See here, here and here).

Of course in those cases, the First Amendment was not implicated regarding the rights of the speakers (who of course could have chosen not to withdraw from speaking), but it was implicated in that it involved private citizens engaged in speech. Suppose for a moment that the protesting students had, instead of doing what they did, engaged in a process of following the proposed speaker around and talked to him or her about choices, called them murderers and in general harassed them. Would a state university (making it state action subject to the First Amendment) have been justified in creating a "buffer zone" for the speaker? Remember of course that such a speaker is a public figure speaking in a public forum at a public event. Would such a restriction be consistent with the First Amendment? It’s not an easy case.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in McCullen v. Coakley (PDF), in which a unanimous court ruled that:

The Massachusetts Act [that makes it a crime to knowingly stand on a “public way or sidewalk” within 35 feet of an entrance or driveway to any “reproductive health care facility,” violates the First Amendment.
How did the court reach this result? The test applied is a familiar one:
[I]n a public forum," however, "the government may impose reasonable restrictions on the time, place, or manner of protected speech, provided the restrictions ‘are justified without reference to the content of the regulated speech, that they are narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest, and that they leave open ample alternative channels for communication of the information.'"
One presumes that the court thinks this  "time, place and manner" restriction is constitutional:
The term demonstration includes demonstrations, picketing, speechmaking, marching, holding vigils or religious services and all other like forms of conduct that involve the communication or expression of views or grievances, engaged in by one or more persons, the conduct of which is reasonably likely to draw a crowd or onlookers," says the revised Regulation 7, which was effective June 13, 2013.
The court has prohibited such things within 250 feet of the court. Of course, there are differences between the Supreme Court buffer zone regulation and the Massachusetts law creating a buffer zone at women's health clinics. As I will demonstrate on the flip, those differences favor the constitutionality of the Massachusetts law over the constitutionality of the Supreme Court regulation.

The Supreme Court of the United States is one of the three branches of our federal government (see Federalist 78). The property on which it sits belongs to the federal government. It is not private property. People who go to the Supreme Court are generally engaged in public business, sometimes of the highest magnitude. Defenders of this regulation would argue that protesting on the sidewalk in front of Supreme Court property makes it all better (and different from the Massachusetts law.) That's sophistry. The distance from the court itself is much larger than the distance from the health clinics subject of the Massachusetts law. Again, let us remember what the First Amendment provides:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
It appears that the Supreme Court’s regulation implicates both the right of the people to peacefully assemble and petition the government for redress (I imagine the court would argue that the way to petition it is to, erm, file a petition ... for cert. After all, justices just call balls and strikes, right?)

By contrast, the Massachusetts law was an attempt to protect private citizens engaged in the private conduct of visiting with their doctor. In other words, while the Supreme Court has restricted First Amendment rights that would be used on issues of the most public nature, the Massachusetts law intends to protect the exercise of the most private of rights, the right to consult with your doctor.

How does the court deal with this? Or does it even attempt to do so? Writing for the unanimous court, Chief Justice Roberts writes this description of the effect on "speech rights":

The buffer zones have displaced petitioners from their previous positions outside the clinics. McCullen offers counseling outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Boston, as do petitioners Jean Zarrella and Eric Cadin. Petitioner Gregory Smith prays the rosary there. The clinic occupies its own building on a street corner. Its main door is recessed into an open foyer, approximately 12 feet back from the public sidewalk. Before the Act was amended to create the buffer zones, petitioners stood near the entryway to the foyer. Now a buffer zone—marked by a painted arc and a sign—surrounds the entrance. This zone extends 23feet down the sidewalk in one direction, 26 feet in the other, and outward just one foot short of the curb. The clinic’s entrance adds another seven feet to the width of the zone. The upshot is that petitioners are effectively excluded from a 56-foot-wide expanse of the public sidewalk in front of the clinic. [Emphasis supplied.]
Soak that in for a moment—what this case is about is the fact that the petitioners are excluded from a 56-foot wide space. Outside of that, apparently under Massachusetts law, they can say anything they want. And to people engaged in the private conduct of visiting their physician. Not to Supreme Court justices engaged in the most public of business. How did 56 feet become a First Amendment violation? Chief Justice Roberts explains:
Petitioners at all three clinics claim that the buffer zones have considerably hampered their counseling efforts. Although they have managed to conduct some counseling and to distribute some literature outside the buffer zones—particularly at the Boston clinic—they say they have had many fewer conversations and distributed many fewer leaflets since the zones went into effect.
Yes, I imagine losing the ability to "counsel" in the face of persons visiting their doctor would "hamper" their efforts to impose their counseling on these private citizens engaged in the private act of visiting their doctor. But is this "hampering" impinging on the First Amendment, and if so, why? Here is what the court said:
It is no accident that public streets and sidewalks have developed as venues for the exchange of ideas. Even today, they remain one of the few places where a speaker can be confident that he is not simply preaching to the choir. With respect to other means of communication, an individual confronted with an uncomfortable message can always turn the page, change the channel, or leave the Web site. Not so on public streets and sidewalks. There, a listener often encounters speech he might otherwise tune out. In light of the First Amendment’s purpose “to preserve an uninhibited marketplace of ideas in which truth will ultimately prevail,” FCC v. League of Women Voters of Cal., 468 U. S. 364, 377 (1984), this aspect of traditional public fora is a virtue, not a vice.
Now I never thought of the idea of haranguing people walking down the sidewalk as a core First Amendment value. But we live and learn. But what about the Massachusetts law prohibits this? Outside the 56-foot zone, can’t this occur? Or is the idea of making it easier for persons coming to visit their doctors to avoid being "counseled" a blot on the First Amendment? The court says:
For a content-neutral time, place, or manner regulation to be narrowly tailored, it must not “burden substantially more speech than is necessary to further the government’s legitimate interests.” Ward, 491 U. S., at 799. Such a regulation, unlike a content-based restriction of speech, “need not be the least restrictive or least intrusive means of ” serving the government’s interests. Id., at 798. But the government still “may not regulate expression in such a manner that a substantial portion of the burden on speech does not serve to advance its goals.” Id., at 799.
To be sure, this is gobbledygook that permits the court to decide cases in any manner it wants. So what did it want to do here and how did it justify what it wanted to do? Chief Justice Roberts writes:
The buffer zones impose serious burdens on petitioners’ speech. At each of the three Planned Parenthood clinics where petitioners attempt to counsel patients, the zones carve out a significant portion of the adjacent public sidewalks, pushing petitioners well back from the clinics’ entrances and driveways. The zones thereby compromise petitioners’ ability to initiate the close, personal conversations that they view as essential to “sidewalk counseling.”
This is indeed the effect, and though the court goes through a fiction of pretending that is not the intent, it is in fact the intent. But it is not the only intent. There is a real safety concern. Is there some other way to address the safety concern? And is the idea of making it harder for these "counselors" to impose themselves on people engaged in private business with their doctor really a First Amendment concern? Here is what the court says:
The Commonwealth’s interests include ensuring public safety outside abortion clinics, preventing harassment and intimidation of patients and clinic staff, and combating deliberate obstruction of clinic entrances. The Act itself contains a separate provision, subsection (e)—unchallenged by petitioners—that prohibits much of this conduct. That provision subjects to criminal punishment “[a]ny person who knowingly obstructs, detains, hinders, impedes or blocks another person’s entry to or exit from a reproductive health care facility.” Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 266, §120E½(e). If Massachusetts determines that broader prohibitions along the same lines are necessary, it could enact legislation similar to the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994 (FACE Act), 18 U. S. C. §248(a)(1), which subjects to both criminal and civil penalties anyone who “by force or threat of force or by physical obstruction, intentionally injures, intimidates or interferes with or attempts to injure, intimidate or interfere with any person because that person is or has been, or in order to intimidate such person or any other person or any class of persons from, obtaining or providing reproductive health services.”
Here we go. This is truly one of the most remarkable passages I think I have ever seen written in a court opinion. What the court is saying is that instead of imposing a reasonable buffer zone of 56 feet in width, what Massachusetts should do instead is use vague criminal laws to prosecute people under a harassment statute. This is good jurisprudence? No, this is cynical nonsense.

The court even has the temerity to recommend to Massachusetts that:

If the Commonwealth is particularly concerned about harassment, it could also consider an ordinance such as the one adopted in New York City that not only prohibits obstructing access to a clinic, but also makes it a crime “to follow and harass another person within 15 feet of the premises of a reproductive health care facility.” N. Y. C. Admin. Code §8–803(a)(3) (2014).8
Wow. Just wow. Here is "the majesty of the law" at work:
Respondents have but one reply: “We have tried other approaches, but they do not work.” Respondents emphasize the history in Massachusetts of obstruction at abortion clinics, and the Commonwealth’s allegedly failed attempts to combat such obstruction with injunctions and individual prosecutions. They also point to the Commonwealth’s experience under the 2000 version of the Act, during which the police found it difficult to enforce the six­foot no-approach zones given the “frenetic” activity in front of clinic entrances. Brief for Respondents 43. According to respondents, this history shows that Massachusetts has tried less restrictive alternatives to the buffer zones, to no avail. We cannot accept that contention.
Judicial minimalism! Balls and strikes!

Maybe this is the right decision. I think it is not. But I do know it is a very cynical decision that argues in bad faith. I assume it is the result of a back room deal, otherwise it is hard to imagine Justice Ginsburg signing on to it.

I know this observation offends many who see the court as some designed neutral arbiter. It isn’t. It is part of our political world, not a neutral umpire.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Why would this opinion be unanimous? (13+ / 0-)

    I agree with the thrust of your argument.  Give the likelihood that some is going to get hurt or killed in front of a clinic, why would none of the justices object here?

    To be on the wrong side of Dick Cheney is to be on the right side of history.

    by mbayrob on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 06:14:45 PM PDT

    •  It does smell like a political deal (6+ / 0-)

      The losing side might have cut a deal to make it unanimous. We'll soon know.

      “Industry does everything they can and gets away with it almost all the time, whether it’s the coal industry, not the subject of this hearing, or water or whatever. They will cut corners, and they will get away with it. " Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D, WVa

      by FishOutofWater on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 06:40:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What kind of deal? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        colbey, delver

        I know that Armando said that, but I wasn't really familiar with this piece of running the Court.

        I'm also not sure what kind of quid pro quo would justify an opinion like this.  Given the rise of brandishing guns as a form of "speech" over the last couple of years,  the opinion in question risks getting people killed.

        Short of folks like Ginsberg opposing the idea of "free speech zones" -- and hoping to use this opinion as a way of getting rid of them generally -- I don't see the angle.

        To be on the wrong side of Dick Cheney is to be on the right side of history.

        by mbayrob on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 07:50:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sad to say, women's health providers... (16+ / 0-)

    ...will have to consider sites that include a large parking lot, and have a high fence with privacy panels on it. Such a clinic exists here in my neighborhood, and clients, for whatever they are visiting the clinic for, have to drive inside from the alley. Meanwhile, we have antichoice types protesting on the sidewalks now and then.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 06:17:04 PM PDT

    •  You're exactly right (9+ / 0-)

      and that's what a major clinic did here in Dallas. So those protesters don't get to take advantage of zero lot lines that allow close access to front doors. Protesters in Dallas get to suck in break dust off major roadways all day hundreds of feet front where they want to be.

      •  brake dust (4+ / 0-)

        Dkos sure could use an edit function.

      •  Dallas may be more driveable (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        raboof, BethyNYC, JeffW

        less dense. More businesses/offices may actually be built with parking lots. I've heard that about some other US cities. Haven't been to Dallas.

        The vast majority of Boston and Brookline is not like that. Buildings abut each other and their are blocks of stores which directly abut the sidewalk. There aren't often lots especially in areas that would be reachable for people without a car (ie T accessible, ie public transit). Many people in Boston area do not have a car, especially lower income people. (it is not as extreme as NYC, though). Usually people struggle with on street parking, often blocks away.

        Not saying it can't 'be done, but it isn't as easy a fix as you and the other poster seem to think. You have to picture how it is before suggesting such an easy fix.  And also, don't you think it might have occurred to them to do this if they could? They've been living through this. I am sure it was one of the many factors they included when they decided on location. What you think is easy isn't.

        •  I live in the Boston area (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BethyNYC, JeffW

          and I haven't had a car in years. You're crazy to have one here: cow path roads, expensive parking, congestion.

          People complain a lot about the subways and buses, but that's because we depend on them.

          The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

          by raboof on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 04:15:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I learned to drive in Boston (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            On Storrow, Blue Hill Ave, the Jamaica Way. So nothing phases me. When I went to LA people there told me the driving is too hard and scary. Cake walk.

            I was a cyclist for a decade before I owned a car. I never got hit though I road with traffic, because I simply pretended I was invisible to all drivers. I miss walking and biking for transportation.

    •  Easier in places where land prices are low. Bos- (5+ / 0-)

      ton?  no.  

    •  hard to do in Boston or Brookline (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jan4insight, colbey, raboof

      It is a walking city (both) and I've heard more densely packed than many other cities in the US. Mostly, there are buildings directly abutting sidewalks with blocks of storefronts ie no room for lot unless they rent in a shopping mall or a former free standing supermarket (but that is too big) or former restaurant. Few businesses/ doctor's offices have parking lots. I am acutely aware of parking lots right now because I am injured and can't walk far (can't take the train or often park on the street) My life is very inhibited because of the lack of parking lots here.

      Most if not all of the clinics are located on the T (public transit) and they need to be. Many people, especially lower income people, do not have a car in this area so being on the T is necessary/important.

      I try to picture the locations where the five former and (some) current clinics I know are, and  none of those areas is a setting where there are storefronts or offices with a parking lot. I am trying to picture any feasible set up with a parking lot and I can only think of one place. I don't think they could put it in a medical building because patients of other businesses wouldn't be able to get in (this is in fact why at least one Boston clinic closed permanently-landlord wouldn't renew the lease because of disruptions. I worked there).

       They'd need to rent in a building with their own entrance or build their own building, which would require tearing down existing buildings because there aren't really tracts of uninhabited land here. Not sure that is feasible.

      I think if they could have had a parking lot when they were choosing locations they'd have taken it. There are obviously many factors they have to consider when deciding on location (accessibility being key). It seems to me finding a setting as you describe would be like finding a needle in a haystack.

    •  If they had the money, they could hire the kind (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      of "security" that the mining people have in Wisconsin--black kevlar, no name tags, balaclavas and helmets so no one sees faces, and AR-15s loaded and ready.

      In short, mercs.

      "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

      by zenbassoon on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 07:58:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Contemplate this: (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, jan4insight, Armando, Chi, kerflooey, lcbo

    how does a woman's right to privacy in medical treatments and sexual reproduction matters play into this, since it can't be helped that a woman going into an abortion clinic exposes such concerns.  

    Over and above the right to protest a business, is there a special concern when these rights are involved as well?  Is there a distinction to be made between a protest of business and confronting women who are making privacy protected reproductive decisions?

    "You cannot win improv." Stephen Colbert ( at 16:24).

    by Publius2008 on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 06:18:04 PM PDT

  •  Content-neutral vs. content based (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, Kimbeaux

    The comment that the paragraph of the opinion distinguishing content-neutral from content-based regulations on speech is not gobbledygook but widely accepted by even such liberal constitutional scholars as Harvard's Lawrence Tribe.  Under Tribe's analysis in his hornbook on constitutional law, restrictions on speech that are aimed solely at the time, place, and manner of speech and are content-neutral are presumed valid, though they may still be shown to overly burden speech.  Thus, a regulation that says "No billboards in the city limits" is presumptively valid, since it does not target the content of speech but only the time, place, and manner of its presentation.  By contrast, content-based restrictions (i.e., those that target the subject matter of the speech) are presumptively invalid and can be upheld in only the rarest situations.

    I am strongly pro-choice and strongly dislike the conservative wing of the Roberts court, but there is a serious problem with this regulation.  On its face it purports to be content-neutral (i.e., it prohibits any speech within a certain area), but the manner in which the area is identified makes clear that it is really aimed at speech of a particular content-- protests against abortion.  One cannot theoretically protest nuclear weapons within the "arc" near a reproductive health facility, but no one wants to.  The people protesting there are only protesting abortion, so the content-neutrality is a ruse.

    The best analogy is really the restriction on campaigning within a certain proximity to a polling place, which has been upheld as valid in nearly every jurisdiction.

    •  You misunderstand my point (7+ / 0-)

      "For a content-neutral time, place, or manner regulation to be narrowly tailored, it must not “burden substantially more speech than is necessary to further the government’s legitimate interests.”

      What's a "narrowly tailored" regulation? What is a "subtantil burden?"What is "necessary to further the government's interest?"

      Any decision on any regulation wll be available that "follows" those rules

      "I know it when I see it" is my point. Which you make at the end of your comment actually.

      As for whether it is actually "conten based," I agree with you. It's not directed at anything but abortion related speech. But is the right to "speak" to a person going to a doctor really requiring of First Amendment protection?

      That's my problem with the decision. I say no.

      •  That terminology has been around since Holmes (0+ / 0-)

        Free speech analysis has always required regulations to be narrowly tailored so that they sweep no more broadly than necessary to further a legitimate governmental interest, or at least since around World War I.  In other words, it's not the Roberts court that's coming up with weaselly terminology; that's been around a long time and is the standard analysis for first amendment issues.  It's hard to come up with anything more specific that will fit all or most situations, but that's true in a lot of areas of law and is why precedent is so important in these cases.

        As for your latter point, you do have a first amendment right to speak to anyone in a public forum, just as they have a right not to listen to you and walk away.  In a public forum, you don't have a right to be protected from other people's criticism of your conduct, no matter how loud or offensive it is, though you do have a right not to be obstructed.  The first amendment is messy and rude and even obnoxious sometimes, but so is democracy.

  •  In-your-face protests are for the little people (19+ / 0-)

    SCOTUS' maintaining a protest-free buffer zone around itself reminds me of state legislators' allowing guns just about everywhere except where state legislators work.

    Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

    by deben on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 06:26:05 PM PDT

  •  I'm not advocating this at all.... (7+ / 0-)

    But this could combine badly with a "stand your ground" law if some of the women going into these clinics carried handguns. Afterall, the whole point of the ruling is so a bunch of self-righteous hot-heads can get in people's face and try to intimidate them.

    Then again, this is the same SCOTUS that believes unlimited dark money in elections would be good for democracy and money = freedom of speech (even if the people "speaking" don't want you to know who they are).

    •  "SYG" laws don't give you a right... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando use deadly force against someone who is just "getting in your face" or even impeding your progress. Such situations don't justify the use of deadly force with, or without, SYG laws.

      SYG laws only mean that you can use deadly force to defend yourself against an attacker who is putting you at risk of death or seriously bodily injury even if you  could, instead, retreat in complete safety and the threat would be eliminated.

      In reality, I suspect it's fairly rare that one can retreat with complete safety from a situation where another person is putting your life at risk. Certainly turning your back on someone who is holding a gun on you would rarely be "completely safe". Most examples I can think of (and I can make some up) where someone can retreat with complete safety are pretty contrived.

        •  Given the malays in front of clinics (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jan4insight, lcbo

          would it not be "reasonable" to worry these people might hurt you?  It's not as if people don't phone up clinics anonymously and threaten violence.  Since, well, they do.

          Or alternatively:  if the clinics choose to put people out front holding automatic weapons.  Might that be reasonable as well in a state like FL?

          We live in interesting times.  You can argue whether or not the law is truly an ass.  But given these decisions, it's clear we have 4 or 5 justices on the Court that are.

          To be on the wrong side of Dick Cheney is to be on the right side of history.

          by mbayrob on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 08:02:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yes it does if you're a white man (0+ / 0-)

        I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

        by a2nite on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 04:10:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  What if someone things you are a murderer? (0+ / 0-)

        Then, doesn't it make sense to fear for your safety? I hope you're just trying to not give much boost to SYG etc. in general, but think about the details.

        And, such a disappointment - especially from the women, who should know better, and the hypocrisy of their own buffer zone. Well turnabout is fair play ...

    •  mine as well (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, Heart of the Rockies

      At some point so hatemongering christian is going to intimidate a pregnant women, and her husband is going to take appropriate action.  My only concern is that some christian DA is not going to see it as self defense. This unfortunately is the world we live in, where violence solves problems because civilized discourse is discounted.

      This is why we don't go to southern baptist church with crime scene photos of James Byrd plastered on the side of van to show the kids that their parents and grandparents promote murder, or may Mathew Shepard to almost any church. Civilized people do not traumatize children and pregnant women to prove a point, any more than one uses children as human shields. That and it is likely that a significant number of Christians are packing and looking for an excuse to kill.

      One may say this is not a fair comparison, but it really is.  Places like Planed Parenthood spend most of their time, as churches claim to want, helping parents bring forth health kids. And when they terminate a fetus, it is not the same as too many churches who spend too much time advocating the murder of humans.

      She was a fool, and so am I, and so is anyone who thinks he sees what God is doing. -Kurt Vonnegut Life is serious but we don't have to be - me

      by lowt on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 07:32:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Civilized people (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jan4insight, ranton
        Civilized people do not traumatize children and pregnant women to prove a point, any more than one uses children as human shields. That and it is likely that a significant number of Christians are packing and looking for an excuse to kill.
        If that's the case, we don't live in civilization, and we may need to revise our notions about what we need to do to protect people who need access to the clinics.

        On the whole, I would not call a number of recent SCOTUS decisions as particularly "civilized".  These cats are looking to bring back the law of the jungle.

        To be on the wrong side of Dick Cheney is to be on the right side of history.

        by mbayrob on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 08:23:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We don't live in a civilized society (0+ / 0-)

          I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

          by a2nite on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 04:11:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'm still gobsmacked that the SCOTUS (23+ / 0-)

    has had the temerity to label the verbal accosting of another as "counseling".

    They can call it "Free Speech" til the sun goes down.

    But how they make the leap from Speech to Counseling, when in fact the term "counseling" when in the context of MEDICINE has been absolutely defined - and is SUBJECT to HIPAA law?

    I cannot understand one iota.

    Armando, any legal thoughts on this in relation to any of the reading of the ruling in McCullen v Coakley?

    How about the fact that everything bad about legal matters in MA seems to be connected in some way, shape or form to  Martha Coakley (who ran for Governor of MA, once upon a time)...

    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

    by Angie in WA State on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 06:28:20 PM PDT

  •  / (9+ / 0-)

    Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

    by DRo on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 06:30:16 PM PDT

  •  Anyone expecting consistency, ethics... (8+ / 0-)

    indeed, logic, or service to all the people from this Supreme Court, indeed, from this government is living in a fantasy world.

    You will note that the Bill of Rights is now apparently a Bill of Concerns. Charles Pierce, Esquire Magazine Feb 2014

    by spritegeezer on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 06:30:30 PM PDT

  •  I think people should start protesting at (10+ / 0-)

    the protesters church for starters.  I would love to see the tables turned on them. Hand out pamphlets promoting the Flying Spaghetti Monster!   I am serious btw. I know someone who worked at these clinics in Boston in 1994, when a man attempted to "counsel" them. Two women are dead from that.

    by pitbullgirl65 on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 06:42:50 PM PDT

    •  Churches have websites and Facebook pages (0+ / 0-)

      One can make one's views known to the congregation and its leader(s) without leaving the comfort of one's home.  Many of the fundamentalist churches that organize these protests also have ongoing recruitment programs to address the need for a steady flow of income.  

      If recruiters or 'witnesses for Christ' or whatever they want to call themselves, you have the opportunity to tell them, several times if necessary, that you would not support any organization that promotes or condones the bullying of desperate and frightened women.  What the Bible says about abortion (nothing) doesn't matter.  We don't live in a theocracy.

      Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

      by arlene on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 04:35:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Stand in front of Roberts' house, etc. (14+ / 0-)

    I think folks should go stand with signs in front of Roberts' house, Scalia's house, Alito's house, etc., and try to "have a conversation" with the judges, their wives and kids, and other citizens who happen by. And see how fast a buffer zone goes up.

  •  This means that the public sidewalks... (9+ / 0-)

    in front of large banks and corporations that say, maybe Moral Monday groups or Occupy wants to draw attention to are also fair game, though-- right.

    I understand that camping out becomes the issue-- but this ruling means that any number of people can take turns hanging out on public sidewalks and protest and counsel customers about the evils of said entity-- with the Supreme Court's blessing.

    Or am I missing something?

    Our country can survive war, disease, and poverty... what it cannot do without is justice.

    by mommyof3 on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 06:49:22 PM PDT

  •  For the last 8 years, I've sat on emails.. (8+ / 0-)

    From the KFL, the Kansans for Life, regarding their 'strategies' for sidewalk counseling, and how they really feel about this issue.

    For a lot of reasons, I've never, ever disclosed it.   But days like today, I'm always tempted to write something up, quote some email, name some names and say: this is the reality of what it looks like.

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle
    >Follow @tmservo433

    by Chris Reeves on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 06:51:30 PM PDT

      •  I've been debating it.. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Armando, jan4insight

        There are some issues at foot with doing it, primarily that it would 100% out me (though since I  use my real name often here, and I've met in person far too often, at this point..)  That has always been the negative in the past.

        At this point, I've been slowly putting together a "best of" diary of some of the email exchanges between KFL responders and their ilk (blanking out their email addresses for obvious reasons)

        Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle
        >Follow @tmservo433

        by Chris Reeves on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 07:00:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

          •  This email still creeps me out.. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Armando, sandblaster

            "You, MSNBC, forgot to point out that Tiller's death saved a lot of lives.."


            Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle
            >Follow @tmservo433

            by Chris Reeves on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 07:08:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Click it for a full view (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Sorry, didn't realize it would get cut off.

              Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle
              >Follow @tmservo433

              by Chris Reeves on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 07:08:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Image is no longer there (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                I'm getting a "Zoinks" error from

                To be on the wrong side of Dick Cheney is to be on the right side of history.

                by mbayrob on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 08:13:03 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I moved it.. (0+ / 0-)

                  It's down below in "fixed".   I screwed up and left their home phone & address in that email.  I re-edited it so it didn't include someone's private information

                  Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle
                  >Follow @tmservo433

                  by Chris Reeves on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 08:15:59 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  This one is CRAZY Creepy.. the email and response. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Armando, arlene
            Eldon Wrote:


            I understand the pro-life organization's desire to distance themselves from legal liability as a result of the justified execution (not murder) of Tiller, but it's still disheartening that they chose that position considering that it gave that evil woman Nola the leverage she needed in order to declare, after the trial, that Roeder didn't rightfully execute Tiller because of abortion; regardless of the fact that it was EXACTLY because of abortion that he did what he did in order to protect unborn innocents. He at least had the courage to do what the people of the State of Kansas and the pro-life organizations should have done long ago, but were too spineless and corrupt. Just my opinion on the matter.

            He also did not receive a fair trial by a jury of his peers, because jurors who were Christians were blocked from active jury service in Roeder's trial because of their faith. That is religious discrimination of the most blatant kind, but it went on without a peep from anyone in the pro-life organizations. Where are all the pro-life organization leaders when this was all taking place right under their noses? How would those leaders feel about being tried without access to a jury of their actual peers...people who are of the same faith in Christ Jesus? I dare say that they too would see it all as a gross miscarriage of justice, and they would be appalled at the silence of people who claim to be Christians.

            The ACLU would have been all over the spectrum if an atheist were given a jury stacked ONLY with Christians. In this case, Roeder was judged by a jury of non-Christians, which is no different than being tried by atheists, and still not a peep from the pro-life leadership.

            I have no respect for the pro-life organizations of Kansas.


            The Response, from Kansas Coalition for Life:
            Hello Eldon,

            You are not starting with the facts, and therefore you do not understand what is going on.

            1. At the time of his murder, Tiller was not an abortionist.  God had taken away his ability to do abortions via his Parkinson's disease.  Tiller was an abortion facility administrator only, who hired three other abortionists to come to his facility to do the hands-on work that he could no longer do; i.e., Abortionist Carhart, Abortionist Sella, and Abortionist Robinson.  The three abortionist who worked at Tiller's facility are still doing abortions today, just in different locations.

            2. At Tiller's gate, KCFL had the best side-walk counseling system ever set-up in the world at an abortion facility.  It involved over 650 volunteers, and a continuous presence during every hour that Tiller was open, for the last five years that his facility was in business.  This project documented 395 lives saved, or an average of about 4% of the babies who were scheduled to die at Tiller's facility.  We were helped by the great work of Choices Medical Clinic next door to Tiller's gate.  Now those same clients are going elsewhere, Kansas City, Overland Park, or to Carhart's facility in Nebraska... where there is no Crisis Pregnancy Center, and where we are saving about 0%.  Please do the math and figure out how many lives Roeder saved.

            3. The commandment says: "Thou Shalt Not Kill."  It does not say thou shalt not kill except in the case of abortionists or when you think that you know better than God Himself, about who should live and who should die.  I assume that Roeder felt that God was being lazy, or no longer in control, or at best, "that God just did not get it!"  Therefore, since Roeder himself knew better than God, just who should live and who should die, and since God was obviously being negligent in his duty to end Tiller's life at an appropriate time, Roeder had to fill in for God, and pick up the slack, which was caused by God's obvious negligence.  

            4. Since KCFL is working on keeping abortion out of healthcare, with our annual ProLife Signature-Ad Petition, (which you have not yet signed, see:, I did not have the time to sit and watch the Roeder's trial.  Therefore, I have no firsthand knowledge of the trial, but at least two nationally recognized prolife leaders, who, like you, did not like KCFL's condemnation of Roeder's murderous act,  said that the Judge in Roeder's trial was bending over backwards to be fair.  Has the jury's verdict changed that?

            Finally, legal liability has nothing whatsoever to do with the decisions that KCFL makes.  We try to do what is right, based on accurate information, a complete set of facts, and Biblical guidance.  I stand proudly by all actions that KCFL has taken, and all decisions made, including all of our actions and decisions in regard to Tiller's murder.

            Thanks for writing.

            Mark S. Gietzen


            Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle
            >Follow @tmservo433

            by Chris Reeves on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 07:34:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Fixed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Sorry!  I had to delete the earlier image, I realize it still had home address & phone # :)  I won't do that to anyone.

        Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle
        >Follow @tmservo433

        by Chris Reeves on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 07:15:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This one, from then Attorney General Kline (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        On 8/20/07 8:24 PM, "Phill Kline"

        As many of you know, George Tiller has kept his clinic closed for going on three weeks.  Tiller's official reason is that he claims that "increased vandalism" and protests have forced him to temporarily close the clinic.

        I believe the reason can be found elsewhere.

        Kansas law requires two doctors find that a woman's life would be in jeopardy or that she would suffer "severe and irreversible damage to a major bodily function" for an abortion to be performed on post-viable unborn children.  Mr. Tiller's performs such abortions almost exclusively.

        He has never claimed a mother's life would be in jeopardy since reports were required to KDHE for over a decade now.  Mr. Tiller always claims that the woman would suffer severe and irreversible damage to a major bodily function if the abortion was not performed.

        As Attorney General I retained renowned psychiatrist Dr. Paul McHugh of Johns-Hopkins University.  Dr. McHugh served as Chair of the School of Psychiatry of Johns-Hopkins for over 25 years and is recognized internationally as one of the world's leading psychiatrists.

        Dr. McHugh reviewed Tiller's files and in a taped and published interview sponsored by Women Influencing the Nation (you can view it on ) concluded that Mr. Tiller's diagnosis of various mental health concerns to perform late-term abortions was not supported by psychiatry, by the evidence in the medical file and violated Kansas law in every instance.

        Specifically, McHugh found that Tiller would trump up some specious psychological diagnosis and call it permanent.  For example, when one would be mother claimed she needed the abortion so she could attend rock concerts (a child would limit her ability as she would have to find a babysitter) Tiller diagnoses adjustment disorder and claimed a permanent injury would result to the mother if the abortion were performed.

        Dr. McHugh said every file showed  the same pattern of conduct and every file did not justify an abortion under Kansas law.

        Attorney General Paul Morrison comes along and in a creative and first of a kind interpretation of the late-term ban in Kansas states that he cannot review the doctor's justification or findings for the abortion.  In other words, the doctor could make it up - and that would be sufficient.  Mr. Morrison has construed the late-term ban to mean abortion on demand as a form of birth control up to the moment of birth.

        This interpretation runs entirely contrary to legal precedent and the clear meaning of the law.  As one example: the Kansas late-term ban requires that the abortion doctor report his findings, including his specific diagnosis and how he made the diagnosis to KDHE for review by the Attorney General.  KSA 65-3703 and KSA 65-445.  Failure to do so is a crime.  Furthermore, the abortion doctor is required to keep all records detailing such findings for five years.

        Why require the reports if they cannot be reviewed?  Why does the statute state that such are to be provided to the Attorney General if there is reasonable suspicion to believe a crime has occurred if the AG cannot act and no one can review the doctor's entirely subjective view?

        Mr. Morrison's interpretation is simply pay-off to the abortion industry.

        Mr. Morrison did what we expected.  Under intense pressure he filed what he called "technical charges" relating to Dr. Tiller's relationship with Kristin Niehaus.  Morrison alleges that Neuhaus, who provides the second opinion required by law, is financially affiliated with Tiller and this is contrary to law.  Morrison filed 19 charges - all relating to medical records my office obtained through subpoena and in which the statute of limitations still allows charges.  Every single file obtained - for which the statute of limitations has not run demonstrated a criminal relationship according to Morrison.

        Public evidence, however, shows that the Neuhaus/Tiller relationship has continued in 2004, 2005 and 2006.  Yet, Morrison indicates he will look no further than the records I originally obtained.

        This approach allows Tiller to possibly eventually plea to a misdemeanor, pay a fine and with the creative interpretation of the late-term ban to not be a ban - allows Kansas to continue as the nation's late-term abortion capital despite some of the strongest prohibition language in the nation.

        So why is Tiller closed?

        He can't find another Neuhaus.  An unintended consequence of their effort to dance with the law.

        Sure Morrison's interpretation provides zero scrutiny for doctor's who in the future affiliate with Tiller, however, how many doctor's are willing to be a part, every day, of ending the life of a healthy viable child?  And how many doctors in order to participate in such abortions are willing to diagnose severe single episodic depression to justify an abortion so a women can go to a rock concert?

        Not many.

        Most likely, Mr. Tiller is having a hard time finding someone who has the exact same philosophy as he does.  For this we can celebrate.


        PS  Feel free to forward.

        The interest in saying that we would order the state to investigate the claims behind all abortions.. including having an outside psychologist make determinations without ever meeting the patient and have access to their files.

        Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle
        >Follow @tmservo433

        by Chris Reeves on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 07:44:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The analogy between the plaza and the (0+ / 0-)

    35' buffer zone is extremely weak -- no one is getting arrested simply for "knowingly entering or remaining" on the plaza as they could within the Mass zone, and no one is prohibited from approaching another person (including a justice if one is spotted) within the plaza. So it's not operating as a buffer zone that protects justices. You know that's not how they generally enter the building; unlike women who have no other way into a clinic, the justices can choose to bypass the public, to observe protests (as Blackmun used to), or to interact, and they've done all three.

    And, to be fair, it's reasonable for them to have instituted a regulation that had already withstood an as-applied challenge in regard to the Jefferson Memorial. As I'm sure you also know, contrary to many claims here, the no-protest status of the plaza long, long predates Roberts and this Court. Regulation Seven only preserved that status and clarified the meaning of "demonstration" pending the appeal in Hodge v. Talkin. I have strong doubts the statute and regs would survive an overbreadth challenge, which Oberwetter more or less invited, but calling both the plaza and the Massachusetts protected space "buffer zones" requires a definition so expansive as to be useless. It's a nice rhetorical fire that Coakley set, but it's dumb.

    •  I strongly disagree with you (12+ / 0-)

      The idea that protesting on the plaza of the Court is the equivalent of accosting people on their way to see their doctor is frankly, obscene.

      Indeed, you concede the point when you write "that's not how they generally enter the building; unlike women who have no other way into a clinic." Exactly so. The plaza IS a public forum. The path to your doctor's office is not.

      To me it is that simple.

      I think you make my point even stronger frankly.

      •  You're the one making the analogy. (0+ / 0-)

        I'm the one saying it's a bad analogy.

        The justices need no buffer, and the plaza doesn't serve as one. The clinic patients do need a buffer or other protection.

        We're both saying that the plaza, while characterized as a nonpublic forum for decades, shouldn't be so characterized (you more vehemently, I'm less certain).

        You're also saying that the public sidewalk should lose its public character because of -- I guess the identity or purpose of the person walking on it? I'm not saying that's crazy (but good luck crafting the law), but it has nothing to do with my comment that the analogy is useless.

        •  I made no analogy (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jan4insight, Back In Blue, Old Sailor

          I was ridiculing the Court.

          You misunderstood. You also misunderstand when you write:

          You're also saying that the public sidewalk should lose its public character because of -- I guess the identity or purpose of the person walking on it? I'm not saying that's crazy (but good luck crafting the law), but it has nothing to do with my comment that the analogy is useless.
          And your misunderstanding is related to you're thinking I was making an analogy.

          The only reason people are "speaking on that sidewalk is BECAUSE there are doctors inside that building.

          It's not the identity of the people that defines this as not a public forum, it is the character of the services being offered, the most private of relationships, that between a patient and a a doctor.

          The absurdity of the plaza at the freaking Supreme Court as a non-public forum subject to regulation but the 56 feet in front of a doctor's office being a public forum seems patent to me.

          I guess you don't agree.

          •  I would ridicule them for decisions they made, (0+ / 0-)

            perhaps in the implausible distinguishing of electioneering buffers, rather than by contrasting the ruling with a situation that they had no hand in creating (except Roberts as to Reg. 7). If you weren't trying to illustrate hypocrisy on the part of the current individuals on the court, I did misunderstand. I was probably misled by the fact that every other diarist, commenter, and politician I've read who has called attention to the plaza in this context appears to be using it for that purpose. You weren't, and apparently could as easily have used the Jefferson Memorial or Arlington Cemetery as an example to show the absurdity of buffering dead people and statues but not women. Mea culpa.

            Sorry this posted so late. I think with sufficient time and good will we would find we agreed on most of this, but I think it will be eclipsed by tomorrow's decisions in any event. At this point I'll just say I don't see how your framework gets to a workable outcome constitutionally -- and I don't mean in the predictive "constitutional is what 5 justices say it is" but in as objective an analytical approach as one can muster -- but then I don't see how people think "the distance that a rifle bullet can travel" is a workable buffer distance either.

  •  Patients and Clinic Staff stand your ground (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, jan4insight

    If patients and clinic staff feel threatened they have the legal right to stand their ground.

  •  Broaden the protection (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, jan4insight

    Why not just make it illegal to harass people seeking medical treatment which would include all places where such services are provided?  Ensuring that third parties are not interfering with people seeking medical assistant would seem to be a valid governmental concern.  

    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.—Carl Schurz
    "Shared sacrifice!" said the spider to the fly.—Me

    by KingBolete on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 07:22:59 PM PDT

  •  Free Speech Zones (5+ / 0-)

    Politicians cage their own protesters in Free Speech Zones surrounded by all of the apparatus of the police state whilst screaming religious zealots with guns are free to go nose to nose to get between a woman her and her doctors.

    I would make a joke, but I can't think of one right now.

  •  Consistency? Ha, they should chew on this: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranton, jan4insight, delver

    Bong Hits for Jesus

    Otherwise known as Morse vs Frederick

    Now I think this was an assault on free speech much more than was attempted by the Massachusetts legislature. And I think the sign was considerably more than 35 feet away.

    I think we have already agreed on the notion that consistency is not exactly SCOTUS strong point. But more and more I am starting to believe they are getting drunk with their own unelected power, accountable to no one

    An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -- Eric Hoffer

    by MichiganChet on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 07:50:54 PM PDT

  •  What should have happened was that the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    lawyers for the Defense should have DEMONSTRATED "sidewalk counseling" to the justices themselves during arguments.

    Let's see if Thomas and Scalia and Roberts like being "counseled" themselves.

    "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 07:54:10 PM PDT

  •  "It is part of our political world (5+ / 0-)
    not a neutral umpire.
    Amen to that. I'd go so far as to say that the Court is an integral part of the American political system that functions to make key political decisions within the Madisonian system of intentional gridlock, for good (Brown v. Board of Education) and ill (Citizens United).

    Tomorrow we'll see if the First Amendment permits union agency fees, even though that issue was "settled" (the answer was "yes") about 35 years ago in Abood v. Detroit Bd. of Education. Has the text of the First Amendment changed since then? No. Has the political power of unions and the ideology of the Justices changed? Yes. That's why the question is alive again -- the right smells blood in the water to deal a body blow to the labor movement.

    This is why who's President, who controls the Senate, and who's nominated to the Court is so crucial.

  •  so interesting, monetizing speech in Citizens etc. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, delver

    as deregulated money, and now OTOH rezoning/dezoning it

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 08:03:02 PM PDT

  •  Change the graphic on this diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Bad enough I have to see these images when I'm stuck in the rush hour commute, but here?

    "Trickle-down economics expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power." Pope Francis

    by SpiffPeters on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 08:13:13 PM PDT

  •  How can SCOTUS ignore all of the history? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, delver

    Did the lawyers for the state just completely blow the opportunity to show the ample amount of evidence of the history of violence, harassment, intimidation and even murder just in MA clinics alone?   Was the statement that there was no evidence of anyone prosecuted under the law a gimmick to dismiss history where no one was apprehended like the 1994 murders in Brookline?  If not then the SCOTUS is being unbelievable reckless with this decision.  People are going to die.  It's only a matter of time.

    America, where a rising tide lifts all boats! Unless you don't have a boat...uh...then it lifts all who can swim! Er, if you can't swim? SHAME ON YOU!

    by Back In Blue on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 09:31:43 PM PDT

  •  Wonder if there will soon be a stand your ground (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    These people have killed before and will kill again.

  •  Backdoor conservative assault of Roe v Wade. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Conservative justices know for a fact that they will not get away with trying to overturn Roe, but, hey, why not clear the way to make it easier for Conserva-Christo-Screamers to interfere with the relationship between a woman and her doctor by twisting the First Amendment like a pretzel?

    "If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies." Moshe Dayan

    by TParrish on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 04:07:13 AM PDT

  •  Can someone point me to the law that guarantees (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    merrywidow, delver

    the right of Christo-Spewers to "counsel" absolutely everyone everywhere, even against their will?  The SCOTUS seems to be going the extra yard to protect said "right", but I do not know what law guarantees it.

    I am pretty sure that if I just pick a place, put together a crowd of believers,  and start spouting  alternate religious nonsense at people as they try to enter a place of business, I will be told to move on.  Would Hindus or Buddhists, for instance, get away with gathering and "counseling" people attempting to enter an exterminator's business?  "Meat is murder" counseling outside an Outback?

    I am very annoyed.

    "If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies." Moshe Dayan

    by TParrish on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 04:25:03 AM PDT

  •  So 15 feet is OK? (0+ / 0-)

    But 35 feet is unconstitutional?

  •  I wonder just how many of the documented (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    tactics used by these unlicensed counselors are viewed by the members of the SCOTUS as valid "counseling" techniques, protected by the first Amendment.

    I would like, for instance, for them to produce an opinion specifically supporting the collection of license numbers on automobiles for the specific purpose of tracking down the clients at the clinics (running licence numbers is illegal, I think).  Their implied, tacit approval is not actually clear.

    An opinion specifically supporting the posting of the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of said patients online for purposes of allowing further wingnuts to harass them in their homes would say a great deal about the character and intent of the justices we currently have forcing conservative values and laws on us, in spite of the results of recent presidential elections.

    An opinion specifically supporting the act of following said patients home from the clinics, for purposes of visiting the patient's neighbors in order to hurt the patient's standing in their communities and businesses would clarify the position of the SCOTUS.

    An opinion making it perfectly clear that the close proximity to these clinics of people already proven to be passionate enough to hurt or kill people who disagrees with their religiously-driven views is fine with the SCOTUS, and even the intended result of their opinion is needed, in order to make the actual Americans affected by such opinions able to decide what to do about things.

    "If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies." Moshe Dayan

    by TParrish on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 04:42:04 AM PDT

  •  It's not counseling. (0+ / 0-)

    It's haranguing, annoying, bothering, chiding, accosting. Counseling implies a willingness to accept advice or direction.

  •  Anti-corporatists etc need to DO THIS (0+ / 0-)

    along with vegetarians etc - make them pay by serving up just deserts of the same to their usual clients. But to me the big mystery is,  how the other "liberal" Justices (I hate to type that in the case of this SCOTUS) went along, especially the women. I hear about a "deal", maybe they meant to let protesting the government etc be easier or relief on NSA, but it still stinks. And yes how hypocritical, for SCOTUS to have that big barrier around themselves.

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