The Bush administration urged the Supreme Court to deny a pending appeal by anti-abortion extremists who use “UN-WANTED” wild-west style posters and a Web site to terrorize abortion providers, the Washington Post reported. Solicitor General Ted Olson filed a brief Friday that said a lower court had correctly decided that the posters were not free speech protected by the first amendment but were “true threats” to the doctors’ safety.
Olson’s brief quoted extensively from the recent Supreme Court case Virginia v. Black in which the high court ruled that cross burning was not protected free speech.
The pending appeal involves a suit filed in 1999 by Planned Parenthood of Oregon and four Oregon doctors listed on the wanted posters against 13 anti-abortion extremists and the anti-abortion groups American Coalition of Life Activists and Advocates for Life Ministries. In the case known as American Coalition of Life Activists vs. Planned Parenthood, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the extremists were liable for threats under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE). The defendants have asked the Supreme Court to review the case.
The anti-abortion group also helped to construct a Web site called the “Nuremberg Files” that lists abortion providers’ personal information. On the Web site, the names of doctors who were murdered had lines through them crossing them off, and the names of those who had been wounded were marked in gray type.
The Supreme Court will likely decide this month whether to hear the case before adjournment for the summer recess, according to Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report.