Bench Memos

Massachusetts Free Speech Case

From Stuart Buck’s account, it appears that a certiorari petition pending in the Supreme Court in McCullen v. Coakley presents important questions whether a Massachusetts statute that creates a no-speech zone within 35 feet of an abortion clinic violates the First Amendment.  The certiorari petition argues that the First Circuit’s ruling below is in conflict both with the Supreme Court’s 2000 decision in Hill v. Colorado and with rulings of numerous courts of appeals.  (If I can find an online link to the petition, I’ll insert it.)

In what may be tactical gamesmanship, Massachusetts has declined to respond to the petition.  The Court should request a response from Massachusetts and, if Massachusetts can’t dispel the strong appearance that the case is worthy of review, grant certiorari.

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