Civil Disobedience

Lots to write about tonight. The world isn’t playing nice.

The US Supreme Court tossed out an argument that abortion protesters could be charged under racketeering laws for shutting down abortion clinics by blocking access to them. Essentially, I understand the argument to be that since the protesters don’t actually walk away with the property, they haven’t committed extortion, and therefore haven’t participated in racketeering.

While I have to admit I must agree with the letter of the law as I understand it, I think this opens up too many doors for arbitrary groups — anti-abortion, PETA, and others — to effectively block access to or completely shut down businesses that are operating legally. Decide what you will about whether you like what a business is doing, if it’s legal, it’s legal, and I’m not convinced any group should have the right to interfere in a manner that shuts it down or blocks access to it. Protest? Yes. Lobby? Yes. Interefere? No.

My belief is that the right of groups to first amendment privileges ends when they cross over someone else’s. Don’t like it? Change the Constitution or change the law, but stop lobbing paint at folks, setting fire to places, bombing buildings and harrassing folks that are already in a bad situation.