Supreme Court Victory in RICO | American Center for Law and Justice
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ACLJ Profile Completion


By Jay Sekulow1309027419000

We received word this morning that the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in our favor in the RICO case.  In an 8-0 opinion authored by Justice Breyer, the Court held that pro-life protests, including sit-ins, did not constitute Hobbs Act violations for the purposes of RICO.  The federal statute designed to go after drug dealers and organized crime cannot be used against pro-life demonstrators.  The RICO Act was never intended to apply to civil disobedience.  The Hobbs Act under RICO prohibits physical violence related to robbery or extortion.  In our case, the Court held that the pro-life protestors did not violate RICO because their actions, including sit-ins and blockades, did not constitute a violation of the statute. The Court reversed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and judgment will be entered for the Petitioners. 


As Counsel of Record, we have represented Operation Rescue before the District Court, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court.  Operation Rescue was one of several pro-life defendants in the racketeering suit brought by the National Organization for Women.


This is a major victory for the pro-life community and removes a cloud that has been hanging over pro-life demonstrators for years.  The Supreme Court could not have been any clearer in its decision that the actions of the pro-life demonstrators in this case fall outside the scope of the federal Hobbs Act and, therefore, the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute - a law designed to combat drug dealers and organized crime.  By ordering the lower court to enter a ruling in favor of the pro-life demonstrators and organizations in this case, a nearly two-decade-old litigation marathon has ended.  This is the third time the case has gone before the high court; the last two times we won the case in an 8-1 decision, and todays decision was 8-0.  Its an important victory for the pro-life movement and finally brings an end to this meritless case.


The Supreme Court today ruled unanimously in favor of pro-life demonstrators and organizations in the cases of Operation Rescue v. NOW (No. 04-1352) and Scheidler v. NOW (No. 04-1244) which were considered together by the high court.



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