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National Organization for Women, Inc. v. Scheidler (1994)

In Brief

National Organization for Women, Inc. v. Scheidler, 510 U.S. 249 (1994): Court rules racketeering law can be used against pro-life demonstrators despite lack of economic motive

The National Organization for Women and two abortion clinics filed suit against Joseph Scheidler and the Pro-Life Action Network claiming they were members of a nationwide conspiracy to shut down abortion clinics through racketeering and extortion in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), a law enacted to combat the Mafia and organized crime.

The lower courts ruled that the protestors did not have an economic motive and therefore their actions did not violate RICO. The Supreme Court ruled that RICO does not require that the racketeering activities be motivated by an economic purpose and remanded the case.



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