OneNewsNow: “ADF attorney Matt Bowman says the ordinance creates 320-foot ‘bubbles’ that keep pro-lifers from approaching others with leaflets or signs, or to talk to them. ‘And these bubbles are happening at the heart of what is really a town where freedom of speech is part of the culture,’ the attorney tells OneNewsNow.”
“No one should want the government to gag speech just because it doesn’t reflect the government’s views or the views of abortionists. For that reason, we are pleased that the anti-speech ordinance did not go into effect as scheduled, and we welcome the city’s attempt to reconsider it in the wake of our lawsuit. We will monitor the city council’s decisions as we continue our fight to protect free speech for the people of Madison.”
Washington Times: “Freedom of speech is ‘at its apex on public streets and sidewalks when citizens wish to persuade other citizens by means of leafleting and personal education,’ said the lawsuit, filed by Matthew S. Bowman and other attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom. The city’s new law is ‘poorly conceived’ and an ‘unjustified attack on free speech,’ it added.”
The Pendulum (Elon University): “Steven Aden, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom on the side of the plaintiff in McCullen v. Coakley, argued that this case should guide the court in the future to not allow any similar buffer zone laws. ‘Any law that creates a no-speech-zone on a public sidewalk is constitutionally suspect,’ Aden said.”
The Connecticut Law Tribune: “DePrimo has argued against buffer zones in three separate cases. Though he doesn’t charge these clients any money, he has accepted payment from grants through the Alliance Defense Fund and other pro-life organizations.” [subscription required for full article]
TribLive: “‘The underlying legal issues are very similar. The precedents are the same. If the court issues a dissenting decision, Pittsburgh may have to re-evaluate as well,’ said Steven Aiden, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, the Christian conservative legal defense organization representing lead plaintiff Eleanor McCullen.”
National Journal: “‘No state should have power to circumscribe a line around speech it disagrees with, and shut out the speakers, and completely foreclose means of communication,’ said Steven Aden, vice president of human-life issues at the Alliance Defending Freedom, which he says has provided funding and support for the challenge. ‘That’s exactly what the state of Massachusetts has done in this case.’”
Human Events: “It’s difficult to square this prohibition with the freedom of speech, or to insist that it should be uniquely practiced against only one set of ideas, as noted by the Alliance Defending Freedom when they filed the suit almost exactly six years ago: ‘Pro-life advocates shouldn’t be penalized for expressing their beliefs,’ said ADF-allied attorney and lead counsel Michael DePrimo.”
OneNewsNow: “Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Steven H. Aden was present at the high court hearing. He tells OneNewsNow the arguments were over a Massachusetts law that establishes a buffer zone around abortion clinic entrances, which keeps away pro-lifers.”
Wendy Kaminer at The Atlantic: “I’m arguing that a woman’s right to right to choose and obtain abortions, and other reproductive heath services, doesn’t diminish her obligation to tolerate extremely irritating, occasionally hysterical, and potentially invasive protesters.”
Patrick Ryan at The American Spectator: “However, attorney Steven Aden of the Alliance Defending Freedom told Reuters, ‘This case is about whether a government has the constitutional ability to cordon off a large section of public space and make it a First Amendment-free zone.’”
Do abortion clinic buffer zones protect public safety or restrict free speech? | Aden debate on PBS NewsHour
Alliance Defending Freedom’s Steven H. Aden debates Ilyse Hogue of NARAL on PBS NewsHour: “STEVEN ADEN, Alliance Defending Freedom: Well, I agree it is a very important case, Judy. . . . And this law actually is the first law of its kind that the Supreme Court has encountered where all speech has been banned on a public sidewalk. And that’s very dangerous. For a state to have the power to ban the kind of speech that it opposes just because it opposes it is very dangerous. It could do that to any speech.”
“A 35-foot protest-free zone outside Massachusetts abortion clinics appeared unlikely to survive Supreme Court review after liberal and conservative justices alike expressed misgivings about the law in arguments Wednesday.”
CBN News: “Attorney Steven Aden, with the Alliance Defending Freedom, has helped McCullen and other plaintiffs suing Massachusetts over the law. ‘Mrs. McCullen and others have been greatly hindered in their ministry,’ Aden told CBN News.”
Reuters: “Steven Aden, an attorney at the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian group that backs the protesters, said the state was targeting people for expressing a particular view. ‘This case is about whether a government has the constitutional ability to cordon off a large section of public space and make it a First Amendment-free zone,’ he said.”
LifeNews: “‘Peaceful pro-life citizens should be able to freely share their message to mothers in vital need without having to shout from outside a “First Amendment-free zone,”‘ explained Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden, who will also be available for media interviews following oral arguments.”
Religion Clause: “The U.S. Supreme Court this morning heard oral arguments in McCullen v. Coakley, a case challenging on free speech grounds a Massachusetts law creating a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics to shield women entering the clinics from abortion opponents.”
Burlington Free Press: “Their lawyer, Michael DePrimo, is also one of the lawyers representing the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case, McCullen v. Coakley. He said in an interview that the two cases are tied together. ‘The Supreme Court really is going to decide the life or death of the Burlington ordinance,’ DePrimo said. He lives in Connecticut and is connected with with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal group based in Scottsdale, Ariz.”
Attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom will be available for media interviews Wednesday following oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of a Massachusetts law that creates a 35-foot “buffer zone” restricting pro-life advocates from speaking with people entering abortion facilities.
SCOTUSblog: “At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hold one hour of oral argument on the power of government to limit protests and demonstrations outside abortion clinics. Arguing for the challengers to a Massachusetts ‘buffer zone’ law in the case of McCullen v. Coakley will be Mark L. Rienzi of Washington, D.C., a law professor at Catholic University.”
Adam Liptak in the New York Times: “Early last Wednesday, bundled up against the 7-degree cold, Ms. McCullen said she found the line to be intimidating, frustrating and a violation of her First Amendment rights. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Wednesday in her challenge to the law.”
NRO Bench Memos: As Ed has previously noted, next Wednesday the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in McCullen v. Coakley, which presents the question of whether the First Amendment permits a state to forbid pro-life counselors and others from peacefully talking to women on a public sidewalk within 35 feet of an abortion clinic.
Floyd Abrams at the Wall Street Journal: But now that McCullen has reached the Supreme Court, both ACLU groups have switched sides. Their position, their brief states, has “evolved over time” and the Massachusetts law is, after all, constitutional on its face. Of course, the First Amendment has not changed in the 14 years between the filing of the ACLU briefs in Hill and McCullen; the ACLU has. The old ACLU got it right.
NPR with Nina Totenberg: Among other cases, the justices will be deciding the rules that govern campaign finance and they will hear arguments in cases regarding the so-called buffer zones around abortion clinics and the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that for-profit companies cover contraception in their health plans.
Boston Globe: Exactly 35 feet from the entrance to the Planned Parenthood on Commonwealth Avenue, Eric Anthony paced, handing out antiabortion fliers to anyone who would take one.
LA Times Editorial: Massachusetts requires protesters to stay 35 feet away from abortion clinics. That’s reasonable.
Boston Globe: Nearly a dozen briefs have been filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a Massachusetts law barring protests within 35 feet of abortion clinic entrances, exits and driveways.
Alan Sears at Alliance Defending Freedom: The opening of another session of the U.S. Supreme Court brings to the forefront several key cases being litigated or funded by Alliance Defending Freedom – cases with profound implications for the future of your life and your religious freedom. I want to give you a glimpse of what’s coming . . .
Lyle Denniston at SCOTUS Blog: The new case, Horne v. Isaacson (docket 13-402), is from Arizona, and the 2012 law at stake would prohibit a woman from having an abortion at twenty weeks or later in pregnancy — three or four weeks before the commonly accepted point at which a fetus could survive if born alive (that is, the point of fetal “viability”).
Aleteia: The current Supreme Court term is set to address freedom of speech for pro-life demonstrations, prayer in legislative settings, and religious freedom.
Stephen Wermiel at SCOTUS Blog: Now add to the list the case of McCullen v. Coakley, which pits a state’s interest in protecting women who want access to abortion clinics against the interests of anti-abortion protesters who want to be able to counsel and hand literature to women approaching clinics.
US Supreme Court to Hear Public Prayer, Abortion, ‘Obamacare’ Cases as New Term Begins | Christian Post
Christian Post: However, Joel Oster, senior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, who represented Greece in the court at the time, told The Christian Post earlier that the decision contradicted past Supreme Court rulings on the matter. “The U.S. Supreme Court already upheld the practice of prayers before deliberative bodies,” he said. “This opinion by the Second Circuit effectively undermines the Supreme Court’s opinion and places several roadblocks and obstacles for a town to permit legislative prayers.”
“There is often one set of rules for free speech at abortion clinics that bear little resemblance to the rules that apply everywhere else,” stated Dana Cody, Executive Director of Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF). This “abortion exceptionalism” is key in the amicus curiae, or friend of the court brief filed this week in the United States Supreme Court case, McCullen v. Coakley.
A.J. Kritikos at Washington Times: The case, McCullen v. Coakley, concerns a 2007 Massachusetts law that prohibits some speakers from coming within 35 feet of free-standing abortion clinics. In effect, the law bans pro-life advocates from trying to peacefully persuade those entering the clinic to consider alternatives to abortion.
Petition for Rehearing in Scott v. Saint John’s Church in the Wilderness, Seeking a Hold for McCullen v. Coakley
Eugene Volokh at Volokh Conspiracy: We’ve therefore filed a petition for rehearing, asking the Court to hold Scott pending the result in McCullen, and then perhaps granting the petition, vacating the decision below, and remanding for reconsideration in light of McCullen (a so-called “GVR”).
Live Action News: Alliance Defending Freedom Attorney Michael DePrimo, lead counsel on the case, believes that this is a clear violation of the First Amendment: Pro-life advocates shouldn’t be penalized for expressing their beliefs…. The buffer law is breathtaking in its scope. It obviously was designed and intended to squelch pro-life speech, but it prohibits much more, such as labor picketing and charitable solicitations. The First Amendment simply does not permit such outlandish restrictions on peaceful speech. [Michael DePrimo is an Alliance Defending Freedom Allied Attorney]
Free speech and abortion: Massachusetts may get an education in the First Amendment | Washington Times Editorial
Washington Times Editorial: The Alliance Defending Freedom, a nonprofit legal organization, took the buffer zone battle to court, to tell women “the other side of the story,” lest they make an irreversible bad decision. “The government should not be allowed to create censorship zones, where the First Amendment doesn’t apply, in order to silence a particular viewpoint,” says Michael DePrimo, an attorney for the alliance. “This buffer zone was designed to censor constitutionally protected speech. We are confident the Supreme Court will strike down the law that created the zone so that our clients and other peaceful pro-life citizens can once again freely share their message.”
WorldNetDaily: “The government should not be allowed to create censorship zones where the First Amendment doesn’t apply in order to silence a particular viewpoint,” said attorney Michael De Primo, who is allied with the Alliance Defending Freedom.
US Supreme Court to weigh in on buffer zone case in ‘Cradle of Liberty’ | Alliance Defending Freedom
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Monday to review the constitutionality of a Massachusetts law that creates a 35-foot “buffer zone” restricting pro-life advocates from speaking with people entering abortion facilities.
SCOTUS to decide whether Pro-Lifers have free speech at abortion clinics: Media Coverage and Case Information
The court has agreed to hear McCullen v. Coakley. The SCOTUS Blog case information page for that case with a statement of the issue is here.
National Review: The pending certiorari petition, filed by law professor Mark Rienzi and lawyers at the Wilmer Cutler law firm, compellingly argues that the First Circuit’s decision upholding the statute mistakenly extends the Supreme Court’s (badly misguided) decision in Hill v. Colorado (2000) and creates a circuit conflict. The petition is slated for the Court’s conference next Thursday.
Findlaw: The First Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a third challenge to the Massachusetts abortion clinic buffer zone law this week, calling the plaintiffs’ First Amendment claims a “salmagundi of arguments, old and new.” The statute at the center of the dispute is Mass. Gen. Law ch. 266, § 120E 1/2, which states that “no person shall knowingly enter or remain on a public way or sidewalk adjacent to a reproductive health care facility” (RHCF) within a designated and clearly marked buffer zone.
Law Review: Balancing Public Safety and Freedom of Speech Outside Reproductive Healthcare Facilities – McCullen v. Coakley
First Amendment – Balancing Public Safety and Freedom of Speech Outside Reproductive Healthcare Facilities – McCullen v. Coakley 571 F.3D 167
“In McCullen v. Coakley . . . the First Circuit correctly determined that the Massachusetts buffer zone law struck an appropriate balance between protecting an individual’s right to reproductive services and upholding the right of individuals to demonstrate outside those clinics.”
Baptist Press: “Sidewalk counselors will have to remain at least 35 feet from abortion clinics in Massachusetts after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider a challenge to the state’s restriction on such pro-life activity . . . ‘The government cannot single them [prolife-life advocates] out for punishment simply because they want to share their message with people entering the clinic,’ said Michael DePrimo, a lawyer affiliated with the Alliance Defense Fund, when the First Circuit Court heard the appeal.”
OneNewsNow: “The Massachusetts Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to a ‘bubble zone’ law that requires pro-life counselors to stay 35 feet away from abortion clinics . . . [Tim Chandler], an attorney with Alliance Defense Fund, laments that that the state’s highest court now has turned away McCullen v. Coakley . . . ‘As far as a ban on speech around abortion clinics, this is the most sweeping law that has ever been approved by a court and [it] effectively eliminates the ability of people to communicate with these mothers.’” | Ed Whelan at Bench Memos: Cert Denied in McCullen v. Coakley
SCOTUS Blog has published its latest list of petitions to watch. The list includes this:
Title: McCullen v. Coakley
ACLJ: We’ve filed an important amicus brief asking the Supreme Court of the United States to hear the case of McCullen v. Coakley, a First Amendment challenge to the Massachusetts anti-speech buffer zone statute that hamstrings pro-life sidewalk counselors outside abortion businesses.
LifeNews.com: “In McCullen v. Coakley, the [The Life Legal Defense Foundation] is challenging the constitutionality of a 2007 law making it a crime to “enter or remain” on public sidewalks within 35 feet of abortion facilities . . . Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund filed a lawsuit in federal court in January 2008 saying the law essentially eliminates free speech rights within the zone by restricting pro-life advocates from sharing their message with people entering.”
ADF-allied attorney available to media following hearing in Mass. ‘buffer zone’ case | Alliance Defending Freedom
ADF Media: ADF-allied attorney Michael DePrimo will be available for media interviews immediately following oral argument Tuesday before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit in McCullen v. Coakley. DePrimo will be arguing on behalf of several pro-life advocates against a Massachusetts law that creates a 35-foot “buffer zone” restricting pro-life advocates from talking with people entering abortion clinics . . .
Mass. law restricting speech around abortion clinics challenged on appeal | Alliance Defending Freedom
ADF Media: An Alliance Defense Fund allied attorney together with ADF attorneys have filed a brief on behalf of pro-life advocates in federal appellate court against a Massachusetts law that creates a 35-foot “buffer” zone around abortion clinics. The brief argues that the law essentially eliminates free speech rights within the zone by restricting pro-life advocates from sharing their message with people entering the clinics.
ADF attorneys file suit against law silencing pro-life advocates in the “Cradle of Liberty” | Alliance Defending Freedom
ADF Media: Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund filed a lawsuit in federal court Friday against a new Massachusetts law that creates a 35-foot “buffer” zone around abortion clinics. The law essentially eliminates free speech rights within the zone by restricting pro-life advocates from sharing their message with people entering the clinics. “Pro-life advocates shouldn’t be penalized for expressing their beliefs,” said ADF-allied attorney and lead counsel Michael DePrimo.