Free speech: U.S. Supreme Court strikes blow against abortion clinic buffer-zones

The U.S. Supreme Court 9-0 resurrected the challenge to a Massachusetts buffer-zone law that allows a 35-foot buffer zone between protestors and abortion clinics.  “Reversing that decision Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that the statute violates the First Amendment because the statute is not sufficiently tailored to limit the burden on the protesters’ speech,” wrote Barbara Leonard. In trying to make safe passage for those seeking abortions, the law went too far in limiting speech. (Courthouse News Service, June 26, 2014)

Eugene Volokh, Volokh Conspiracy, June 26, 2014, writes that exceptions in the law affected the Court’s decision. “…whether the statute purported to exempt clinic employees and agents from the speech restriction helped drive the Justices’ decision as to whether to treat it as content-based (and indeed viewpoint-based) or content-neutral,” wrote Volokh.