Blakey's interpretation of RICO vindicated

by Michael O. Garvey

G. Robert Blakey, William and Dorothy O?Neill Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame, is pleased with today’s Supreme Court ruling that federal racketeering and extortion laws may not be used to punish aggressive anti-abortion protesters.p. Blakey, the nation’s foremost authority on such laws, drafted the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) in 1970. The RICO law had been invoked in 1986 by the National Organization of Women and two abortion facilties in Wisconsin and Delaware, whose attorneys argued that it should protect businesses from violent protests that drove away clients. Today the Supreme Court overturned the ruling of a lower court which had ordered the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue and its leader Joseph Scheidler to pay some $258,000 in damages to the abortion providers.p.

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