Friday, June 27, 2014
Supreme Court ruling on excluding protests near abortion clinics, and approaching people in public places
The Supreme Court threw out (unanimously) a Massachusetts law that established a fixed buffer zone for protestors at abortion clinics but offered a framework for more flexible limits. The grounds were based on the First Amendment. The Boston Globe has a story by Peter Schworm and Zachary T. Simpson, here. The link for the slip opinion of McCullen v. Coakley is here. I had noted on June 11 an abortion clinic that I often pass driving in northern Virginia, and that sometimes I see protestors.
I think the issue is more interesting when applied to outdoor speech in other areas. Anti-gay protests, like from Westboro Baptist Church, come to mind. So do simply being approached by aggressive pandhandlers or people with various kinds of issues in public places. That just happened yesterday, near a Metro, as a woman was screaming “Sir” to me and desperately trying to get my attention.