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Posters by Abortion Foes Posed Threat, Court Rules

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by mental invalid, May 17, 2002.

  1. mental invalid

    mental invalid Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 11, 2001 Messages: 13,050 Likes Received: 8
    Posters by Abortion Foes Posed Threat, Court Rules

    The federal appeals court in California ruled yesterday that organizations that distributed Old West-style wanted posters identifying doctors who provided abortions had illegally threatened them, and it upheld a jury verdict against the organizations.

    The defendants, two anti-abortion organizations and a number of individuals, also listed doctors' names and addresses on a Web site they called the Nuremberg Files. The names of doctors who had been killed were lined through in black; the names of wounded doctors were highlighted in gray.

    The defendants said they were engaged in political advocacy, while the plaintiffs, four doctors and two health clinics, maintained that the speech in question encouraged violence against abortion providers.

    The decision, by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, reversed a decision by a three-judge panel of that court.

    The vote was 6 to 5. The majority rejected a First Amendment doctrine that protects speech advocating violence so long as it is not directed to incite immediate lawless action.

    "While advocating violence is protected," Judge Pamela Ann Rymer wrote for the majority, "threatening a person with violence is not." Judge Rymer said another doctrine, concerning threats, applied when specific people were named and made to fear for their safety.

    Maria Vullo, who argued the appeal for the plaintiffs, said the essence of the court's decision was its rejection of threatening speech. "It's really terrorism," she said about the speech.

    Christopher Ferrara, who represented the defendants, said his clients would ask the United States Supreme Court to review the decision. "This is a threat case without any identifiable threat," he said. "We're found liable for the format we chose."

    An Oregon jury awarded the plaintiffs $109 million in 1999. The earlier decision by the appeals court panel threw out that verdict. Yesterday's decision reinstated it, though the court instructed the trial judge to reconsider the punitive damages portion of the award in light of recent decisions.

    The majority discounted the argument that the language used by the defendants was not overtly threatening. The use of wanted-style posters followed by killings was, the majority said, sufficient to strip the defendants of First Amendment protection.

    "This is not political hyperbole," Judge Rymer wrote. "They were a true threat."

    The dissenting judges said the majority erred in applying the "true threats" doctrine, which is often employed in considering face-to-face encounters, to the mass communications here.

    "Political speech, ugly or frightening as it may sometimes be, lies at the heart of our democratic process," wrote Judge Stephen Reinhardt. "Private threats delivered one-on-one do not."

    Floyd Abrams, the constitutional lawyer, said he was troubled by the decision.

    "To analyze the case only as a `threat' as opposed to one that essentially involves the toughest sort of political speech is to move far away from the core of the First Amendment," Mr. Abrams said.

    "With a 6-to-5 vote and the fact that there are two bodies of law that are in great tension with each other, there is a good chance that the Supreme Court will agree to hear the case."
  2. fizm

    fizm Member

    Joined: Apr 9, 2002 Messages: 573 Likes Received: 0
    abortion rocks.

  3. Are2

    Are2 Guest

    so much for 'freedom of expression'
  4. deznatori

    deznatori Veteran Member

    Joined: Jan 30, 2001 Messages: 5,441 Likes Received: 0
    It's a meal not a child!
    ha ha haha
  5. Kr430n5_666

    Kr430n5_666 Banned

    Joined: Oct 6, 2004 Messages: 19,229 Likes Received: 30
  6. OPIUM3

    OPIUM3 Senior Member

    Joined: Apr 14, 2001 Messages: 1,315 Likes Received: 0

    I see star wars.
  7. Smart

    Smart Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Apr 14, 2000 Messages: 17,017 Likes Received: 178
    no way, put my name and picture on a poster that says 'wanted:' and I'm gonna feel a bit threatened. A person becomes a 'celebrity' because they chose that life, but being an abortion doctor should not constitue a reason for fame.

    RING OF FIRE New Jack

    Joined: Mar 13, 2002 Messages: 85 Likes Received: 0