Today, after 21 years and an unprecedented three hearings before the U.S. Supreme Court, NOW vs. Scheidler was finally settled in a U.S. District Court in Chicago, and NOW may have lost big.
You can read the history of the case here.
This has always been a free speech case. Many liberal activists, including PETA and Martin Sheen, filed amicus briefs in support of Scheidler.
You can read the press release by Scheidler’s attorney here.
I just spoke with the attorney, Tom Brejcha, to understand how the tables may have been turned on NOW. Here is how Tom explained today’s court decision….
It’s a little complicated. It was a class action, which means all the clinics in the country, all the women in the country who are members of NOW, and any women who ever felt intimidated by pro-life people in the country were brought into this case.
NOW sued every pro-life activist organization with a title.
In a way the whole abortion crowd sued the whole pro-life activist movement. Importantly, all the clinics were involved except a few who dropped out. Then-PP president Alan Guttmacher sealed the list of involved clinics.
There’s a doctrine in law that when you file a lawsuit, it has to include every claim A brings against B. NOW vs. Scheidler included every event and transaction that ever occurred with an abortion provider from 1984 for as long as the case was pending.
Now we have a final judgment that includes anyone in the pro-life movement who was accused of any wrong doing at or about the premises at an abortion clinic – threats, harrassement, disorderly conduct – if that clinic hasn’t dropped out of the case. So this final judgmenet can be brought into oourt to say the case is barred against that pro-lifer, because all claims have been dismissed.
Any lawsuit filed against a pro-lifer since 1984 is potentially dismissable, up to the date of the judgment.
The point is, NOW said our guys had to answer for anything anybody did in the pro-life movement. But it works both ways. They said on record the co-conspirators were up to one million people.
I am going to put a kit together to send papers to whoever needs it to raise a defense. Mr. and Mrs. Anybody may say that they won this case.
There’s a lot of paper you could throw at any prosecutor in the country. Boy, I’m gonna get that paper ready to throw. They wanted to make this thing top down against activism. They asked for it, they got it.
Congratulations to Joe and Ann Scheidler and Tom Brejcha!
[Hat tip: Marathon Pundit]